YAKIMA, Wash. – Crews searching the Cascade Mountains Tuesday have found the remaining three bodies of skydivers who died after their plane carrying 10 people went missing Sunday night. Seven bodies were found Monday, and the recovery crews found the remaining three Tuesday.
"We had searchers in the area all last night and overnight and this morning protecting the scene and searching for survivors and there are none," said Ken Irwin, Yakima County Sheriff.
From looking at the wreckage, he said they believe the Cessna 208 Grand Caravan went straight down.
The plane left Star, Idaho, near Boise, Sunday evening en route to Shelton,Wash., northwest of Olympia. The plane was returning from a skydiving meet in Idaho when it crashed.
"They were crashing at about 70 miles per hour," said Irwin. "You can imagine what that would do to the human body."
"We will be busy during the next day or two or three," he said. "Whatever it takes to bring those people who were in that accident out so the families can have their time with them."
The names of those aboard were not released.
Family members gathered near officials as they spoke to the press about the crash, frequently grabbing on to one another for support and wiping tears from their eyes.
"They were adrenaline junkies," said Jim Hall, director of Yakima Valley Emergency Management, who has been helping the families cope with the tragedy. "They enjoyed life and lived it to the fullest. They were doing what they wanted to do and we can appreciate that."
Many of the families clasped photos of their loved one.
"We are just trying to comfort each other," said one man, who lost his brother. "We are all just numb. I don't know when it is going to affect me. The healing hopefully begins now."
Searchers who followed the scent of fuel to the crash site Monday night were able to verify by serial number that it was the plane carrying nine skydivers and a pilot that went missing a day earlier, said Tina Wilson, a Yakima Valley Emergency Management spokeswoman.
The tail section was separated from the rest of the plane and was not immediately located, she said.
The National Transportation Safety Board was to begin an investigation Tuesday.
Based on radar transmissions and a hunter's report of seeing a plane flying low Sunday evening and then hearing a crash, the search was focused on a steep, densely forested area near White Pass, about 45 miles west of Yakima.
The search was centered in a relatively small area of 5 to 10 square miles along the north fork of the Tieton River.
Elaine Harvey, co-owner of the skydiving company Skydive Snohomish, told The Seattle Times that nine of the 10 aboard were either employee of her business or else licensed skydivers who considered Snohomish their "home drop zone."
Skydive Snohomish operates a training school and offers skydiving flights at Harvey Field in Snohomish County, about 20 miles north of Seattle.
The company had nothing to do with the flight to Idaho or the event held there, Harvey said.
"These people were beloved friends," she told the Yakima Herald-Republic.
The plane was registered to Kapowsin Air Sports of Shelton, located near Olympia.
Geoff Farrington, Kapowsin's co-owner, said the family-owned company had never before lost a plane. He also said the plane had never experienced mechanical problems.
The single-engine plane was built in 1994, according to FAA records.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.