Sunday, May 19, 2024

WSDOT searching for missing plane near Snoqualmie Pass

Final update: 5 p.m. Monday, May 20

WSDOT Air Search and Rescue has concluded the search for a missing pilot and plane after the discovery of aircraft wreckage near Humpback Mountain. The plane's 69-year-old pilot, Jerry Riedinger was found deceased in the airplane wreckage in a heavily forested area of the mountain. The crash site was discovered by ground search crews. WSDOT offers our sincere condolences to the entire Riedinger family for their loss.

This concludes WSDOT’s involvement in the mission. Further information will be released by the King County Sheriff's Office. The contact there is Sergeant Eric White at 206-263-2560. Media questions about any investigation of cause can be directed to the National Transportation Safety Board.

Update: 10:30 a.m. Monday, May 20

WSDOT and partners continue to search for the missing plane and pilot. A 50-person ground search is underway including one aircraft searching from the skies. The team is focusing efforts on a concentrated area in the Humpback Mountains west of Snoqualmie Pass, where last known cell phone analytics were recovered. The tail number for the aircraft is 22MW. WSDOT requests other pilots give the air search and rescue team room to work safely.

Anyone who thinks they saw or heard the plane Sunday, May 19 or spotted anything in the area should call the State Emergency Operations Center at 800-258-5990 with details. The next update with be provided at 10 a.m. Tuesday, May 21.

By Tina Werner

OLYMPIA - The Washington State Department of Transportation is searching for a missing plane in the vicinity of Interstate 90 near Snoqualmie Pass.

WSDOT Air Search and Rescue was notified Sunday evening of a missing 2001 Extra Flugzeugbau 300/L piloted by Jerry Riedinger. Riedinger left the Arlington Municipal Airport Sunday at 4:30 p.m. Riedinger's wife reported him missing around 6 p.m., after he did not arrive at his destination in Ephrata. An air search is underway and includes assistance from King County Search and Rescue and the King County Sheriff’s Office on the ground.

The pilot was reportedly carrying a parachute, and the aircraft was equipped with a new 406MHz Emergency Locator Transmitter. There has been no communication from the aircraft and no emergency beacon signals received. Riedinger was the only known occupant.

Search efforts will continue through the night and WSDOT Air Search and Rescue will resume efforts Monday, May 20. Anyone who thinks they saw or heard the plane Sunday or spotted anything in the area should call the State Emergency Operations Center at 800-258-5990 with details. At this time, search officials do not need volunteers to conduct air or land searches.

Updates on the search will be posted on the WSDOT blog. Email updates from WSDOT are also available online by signing up and selecting the emergency news "air search and rescue" option. Barring new developments – which would be announced on the blog – the next update is planned for 11 a.m. Monday, May 20.

WSDOT, by statute (RCW 47.68.380), is charged with the coordination and management of aerial search and rescue within the state. The agency works in conjunction with volunteer search and rescue groups, law enforcement and other agencies, such as the U.S. Navy, in carrying out such searches.

View from a WSDOT air search & rescue airplane in flight