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Megan Hilty’s pregnant sister, her brother-in-law and nephew were identified as three of the 10 people killed in floatplane crash near Whidbey Island in Puget Sound over Labor Day weekend.
The US Coast Guard released the names of the victims from the plane collision Tuesday, which flew from Friday Harbor and was scheduled to land at Renton Municipal Airport.
The aircraft crashed shortly after 3 p.m. in Mutiny Bay on Sunday, Sept. 4, nearly 30 miles north of Seattle and halfway between its destination and takeoff point.
Lauren Hilty, Ross Mickel and their son, Remy Mickel, were confirmed as passengers aboard the flight in a Coast Guard release. Lauren was pregnant with a baby boy.
Jason Winters was listed as the pilot, with passengers also including Patricia Hicks, Sandra Williams, Luke Ludwig, Rebecca Ludwig, Joanne Mera, and Gabrielle Hanna.
“The Coast Guard offers its deepest sympathies to those who lost a loved one in this tragedy,” said Cmdr. Xochitl Castañeda, the Search and Rescue Mission Coordinator for this incident.
Mickel was a winemaker in the area and owned Ross Andrew Wineries since 1999. His family released a statement to local KING 5.
“We are deeply saddened and beyond devastated at the loss of our beloved Ross Mickel, Lauren Hilty, Remy and their unborn baby boy, Luca. Our collective grief is unimaginable,” the statement said. “They were a bright and shining light in the lives of everyone who knew them. Although their time with us was too short, we will carry their legacy forward.
“We want to thank all the first responders, emergency service agencies of Whidbey Island, Island County, the United States Coast Guard (USCG), Naval Air Station Whidbey Island (NASWI), and the private citizens who participated in the search and rescue efforts following the crash. The enormous outpouring and support we have received from our friends, family, and the public has been overwhelming. Our hearts go out to the families and friends of those who also lost loved ones on-board. At this difficult time, we are requesting that our privacy be respected as we grieve the loss of our family members.”
The National Transportation Safety Board said the plane that crashed was a de Havilland DHC-3 Otter, a single-engine, propeller plane operated by Friday Harbor Seaplanes.
“The team at Friday Harbor Seaplanes is heartbroken, we don’t know any details yet regarding the cause of the accident,” a statement read. “We are working with the FAA, NTSB and Coast Guard. We have been in communication with the families. We are praying for the families involved, including our pilot and his family.”
Hilty, a Tony Award-nominated performer, is known for her starring role as Glinda the Good Witch in Broadway’s “Wicked,” in addition to working on the musical drama “Smash.”
The cause of the crash is currently under investigation.