All 10 people who were aboard a floatplane that crashed off Whidbey Island on Sunday afternoon are presumed dead.
The Coast Guard suspended its search Monday for the missing floatplane that plunged into Puget Sound and sank in the deep, cold waters of Mutiny Bay as it was traveling from Friday Harbor in the San Juan Islands to Renton.
The U.S. Coast Guard released the names of all the victims Tuesday morning.
They ranged in age from 22 months to 66 years. They were mothers and fathers, sons and daughters, aunts and uncles and grandchildren.
They were business owners, prominent community leaders, attorneys, writers and acclaimed winemakers. They were from Washington state, Minnesota and California, in the San Juan Islands celebrating weddings and vacationing, with plans to celebrate upcoming birthdays.
Here is what we know so far about the victims of Sunday’s crash.
Gabrielle Hanna, 29
Hanna, a Seattle attorney with a zest for travel who cooked elaborate meals for her adoring family, was on her way home from a friend’s wedding, according to her father, Dave von Beck.
A graduate of Garfield High School in Seattle and the University of Washington School of Law, Hanna was an associate in the Seattle office of Cooley LLP, an international law firm.
“She was a fierce, fierce young woman, in the best of ways,” von Beck said Tuesday, describing his daughter as funny, bright and an explorer.
“There are no words to describe the pain,” he added. “Her family loved her very much.”
Born in Idaho, Hanna mostly grew up in Seattle, her father said. She competed on the swim teams at Garfield and at Occidental College in Los Angeles, having learned to swim at the West Seattle YMCA with her older sister, Jordan, with whom she was “best friends” and shared countless adventures, von Beck said.
Lauren Hilty, 39, Ross Mickel, 47, and Remy Mickel, 22 months
Ross Mickel, a renowned Washington vintner and founder of the Eastside-based Ross Andrew Winery, was aboard the plane with his pregnant wife, Lauren Hilty, and their 22-month-old son, Remy.
“We are deeply saddened and beyond devastated at the loss of our beloved Ross Mickel, Lauren Hilty, Remy and their unborn baby boy, Luca,” read a statement issued Monday night by the Mickel and Hilty families. “Our collective grief is unimaginable.” The statement went on to express gratitude to the searchers and other friends and supporters.
The Medina couple married in October 2019 in Roche Harbor on San Juan Island and considered it their special place, according to Mickel’s longtime friends Fred and Ashley Northup of West Seattle. Mickel would have turned 48 this month. Hilty was an accountant.
“Lauren was kind and warm and laughed easily. Ross made eight million jokes at a time and she was right there with him. They loved each other really well,” Ashley Northup, who grew up with Mickel in Bellevue, said. “The loss of his family is going to leave a really big hole. Their network was so big, the loss is profoundly large.”
In addition to being a talented winemaker, Mickel was an avid outdoorsman who served on the board of Ducks Unlimited. Hilarious and kind, Mickel was also thoughtful and insightful — and intentional about being a good dad to his son Remy and 12-year-old daughter, Lyla, from his first marriage, the Northups said.
Patricia Hicks, 66
Pat Hicks was a retired schoolteacher who blessed Spokane with her gentle nature, community spirit and dance moves.
Hicks was on her way back from a vacation in the San Juan Islands with her partner, the Spokane civil rights activist Sandy Williams, when the floatplane went down.
“She was so excited about that trip,” her brother, Sam Hicks, said Tuesday from Los Angeles. “I never would have imagined something like this.”
Hicks grew up in the South Central region of L.A., was “the baby” of six children and worked her way through college, becoming the first person in her family to earn a degree, her brother said.
As a teacher in Southern California, she focused on students receiving special education and on “troubled kids” whom she understood, thanks to her own experiences as a young person, Sam Hicks said.
“She was an activist and she cared about her community,” he said, also describing his sister as “the glue” holding their family together in recent years. “She was pretty tough.”
Luke and Rebecca Ludwig
Two of the victims identified Tuesday are Luke and Rebecca Ludwig, a couple from Minnesota.
“We have nothing to share at this time, other than we are coping with this tragedy with overwhelming support from family, friends, and a loving community,” family member Kyle Hosker wrote in a statement for the family.
Luke Ludwig served as director of engineering for HomeLight, a real estate technology company based in Arizona.
“Luke was a deeply devoted father, husband, outdoorsman, and coach for his kids’ sports teams, known for his remarkable kindness and generous spirit,” the company wrote in a statement. “We were privileged to know his warmth, intellect, and humor, and will miss him deeply.”
Joanne Mera, 60
Joanne Mera, a business owner from San Diego, was visiting family in the Seattle area at the time of the crash, according to her niece Sami Sullivan, who sent a statement on behalf of the family.
She is survived by her three children, her husband of more than 30 years, sisters, brother, nieces, nephews and “a whole lot of people who loved her,” Sullivan wrote.
“Joanne Mera was someone everyone gravitated towards,” Sullivan said. “She was the life of any party and the soul of our family. She was the best mom, wife, sister and friend.”
Sandy Williams, 60
Sandy Williams was a civil rights activist who founded a community center and Black newspaper in Spokane.
Her brother Rick Williams told The Spokesman-Review she was on her way home Sunday from vacationing in the San Juan Islands. The family spoke to her by phone just before she boarded the plane.
Her family had planned to celebrate her 61st birthday next week.
Rick Williams described his sister as a passionate and honest voice of integrity. “Her voice will be missed, I think even by those who hated to see her walk into the meeting,” he told The Spokesman-Review.
Sandy Williams launched the Black Lens to tackle important topics facing the Black community and was the force behind the Carl Maxey Center, which promotes economic development, education and cultural enrichment in the Black community, as well as racial equity and justice.
She graduated from Cheney High School in 1979 and earned a bachelor’s degree from Washington State University in psychology and a master’s at the University of Southern California film school, where she studied screenwriting, The Spokesman-Review reported.
Jason Winters, 43
Jason Winters, pilot of the seaplane, was a longtime commercial pilot who loved aviation since a high schooler washing and loading seaplanes in Mason, Chelan County.
He is survived by his wife and three children.
“Jason was a loving father, partner to his spouse and friend to many,” Winters’ family wrote in a statement sent to The Seattle Times through a longtime family friend, Conor Davis. “We are devastated by the sudden and tragic passing of his life and all those on board.
The family described Winters as a skilled pilot, with decades of experience. “Like all of those impacted, we’re desperately awaiting any answers as to what caused this tragedy,” the statement said.
As a high school student in Manson, Winters started working for Chelan Seaplanes – another charter service that is now a part of Northwest Seaplanes – mostly for something to do, said Ryan Miller, a family friend who was his former classmate and roommate. At first, he helped with odd jobs, like washing and fueling the planes and loading the bags. He later started taking lessons to learn to fly himself.
When he was flying, he was a completely different person, his friends said. No joking, barely any smiling. But as soon as he clocked out, he was laughing and joking.