Civil Rights Activist Among 10 Victims Aboard Seaplane That Crashed in Waters Near Seattle: 'Devastated'

Nine remain missing, with search efforts suspended, after the recovery Sunday of a deceased female from the water in Mutiny Bay off Whidbey Island

Authorities have identified all 10 people, including the pilot and one child, who were aboard a float plane that crashed Sunday afternoon in the waters of Puget Sound near Seattle.

Nine people remain unaccounted and presumed dead after the body of a deceased female was recovered from the water in Mutiny Bay off Whidbey Island, according to the U.S. Coast Guard and the Seattle Times.

Those aboard the plane have been identified by the Coast Guard as pilot Jason Winter, and nine others: Gabrielle Hanna; Patricia Hicks; Lauren Hilty; Luke and Rebecca Ludwig; Joanne Mera; Sandra Williams; and Ross Mickel and a minor, Remy Mickel.

"The deceased individual recovered from the water on Sunday night was transferred to the Island County coroner and has not yet been positively identified," according to the agency, which did not officially confirm any other fatalities.

Search efforts were suspended Monday, reported NBC affiliate KING-TV.

"The Coast Guard offers its deepest sympathies to those who lost a loved one in this tragedy," Cmdr. Xochitl Castañeda, the search and rescue mission coordinator for the incident, said in a statement.

credit: king 5 .Float plane crash in Puget Sound.
Scene near float plane crash Sunday in Puget Sound. King 5

The exact cause that led to the crash of the single-engine propeller de Havilland Canada DHC-3 Turbine Otter is currently unknown, said the National Transportation Safety Board, which is investigating.

The Coast Guard was alerted that the plane, which had departed from Friday Harbor in San Juan Island, Washington, and was en route to Renton Municipal Airport, had crashed at 3:11 p.m.

The seaplane is operated by Northwest Seaplanes, a charter service based in Renton, reported KING-TV.

Northwest Seaplanes did not immediately respond to PEOPLE's request for comment.

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In a statement to PEOPLE, the Washington State Wine Commission said they "are deeply saddened by the news about Ross Mickel and his family."

Ross Mickel, a winemaker and the owner of Ross Andrew Wineries, was traveling with his wife Lauren, the sister of Smash actress Megan Hilty, and their son Remy.

"Ross had an incredible impact on the Washington wine community and he will be greatly missed. Our thoughts are with their loved ones as they navigate this extraordinarily difficult time," the statement read.

His family offered a comment on the tragic loss to NBC affiliate KING-TV and confirmed Lauren was pregnant at the time of the crash.

"Our collective grief is unimaginable. 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," they wrote. "Our hearts go out to the families and friends of those who also lost loved ones on-board."

The U.S. Coast Guard Cutter Healy makes its way through the Puget Sound on its way Thursday, Oct. 29, 2015, to its homeport of Seattle. The 420-foot polar icebreaker, the country's newest high-latitude vessel, returned to Seattle after cutting its way to the North Pole in support of a mission to study the health of the Arctic Ocean. (AP Photo/Elaine Thompson)
AP Photo/Elaine Thompson

Fellow passenger Sandy Williams was a civil rights activist in Spokane.

"This weekend, our community has tragically lost a leader, teacher, activist and powerful voice," Gonzaga University President Thayne McCulloh wrote in a social media tribute. "I am devastated to learn of Sandy Williams' passing and we @GonzagaU extend our condolences to her family, many friends and colleagues. Sandy: Rest In Peace."

Williams' brother, who confirmed her death to The Seattle Times, said she was on her way home from a vacation, and that her family had plans to celebrate her 61st birthday later this month.

"This is a loss to the whole community, not just the Black community," Spokane City Councilwoman Betsy Wilkerson, who is also president of the Carl Maxey Center board, which Williams served as executive director of, told the newspaper.

The family of a third passenger, Joanne Mera, a 60-year-old San Diego business owner survived by a husband and three children, described her in a statement to KING-TV as "someone everyone gravitated towards, she was the life of any party and the soul of our family."

"She was the best mom, wife, sister and friend," they said. "Our hearts are shattered, not just for our family's loss, but for the loss we know other families are feeling right now."

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