Searchers today found the underwater wreckage of a plane that crashed near Sand Point with two bodies still strapped inside, troopers say.
Pilots Ameer Ali, 28, and Emily Lewis, 23, had been missing since the ACE Air Cargo Beechcraft 1900 they were flying went down around midnight Thursday. The plane was carrying fish and mail to Anchorage.
Shortly before noon today, searchers discovered what appeared to a part of the plane, said troopers spokeswoman Megan Peters. A diver soon found two bodies inside, she said.
Ali was the pilot and Lewis the co-pilot. While Peters said the bodies most likely have not been identified yet, there was no one else on the plane according to rescuers.
The Coast Guard called off its search for survivors Friday night, but today representatives for ACE Air Cargo and an insurance company continued to look for wreckage, said Aaron Sauer, an air safety investigator for the National Transportation Safety Board.
Searching a grid with boats, they found portions of the airplane in about 30 to 40 feet of water, Sauer said. "Two individuals were removed from airplane wreckage out there and that is all being coordinated with the local authorities."
Officials couldn't say precisely where the craft was found, though Sauer estimated it was maybe two miles north of the Sand Point airport.
"They have suspended operations for the evening and they’re going to be continuing the recovery of the aircraft beginning tomorrow morning," he said.
A family spokesperson for Lewis sent this message to media today:
"(Emily) grew up in the Seattle area and recently moved to Alaska to work as a pilot. She was engaged to be married this year. Emily was a funny, sweet, wonderful person who always loved flying. She will be very much missed by her family and friends."