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2 dead after plane crashes into Spokane River

  • Rescue personnel, with divers in the water, search the area of a small plane crash in the Spokane River on Thursday just east of Upriver Dam adjacent to Felts Field in Spokane, Wash. (Jesse Tinsley/The Spokesman-Review via AP)

SPOKANE, Wash. » A small plane crashed into a river in the Spokane area and sank Thursday, fatally injuring the two men aboard, authorities said.

Deputy medical investigator Jim Uttke identified them as Lyndon Amestoy and Richard Runyon. The spokesman said he did not know who was the pilot and was not authorized to disclose ages or hometowns.

The plane went down in the Spokane River late Thursday afternoon. Spokane Valley Fire Deputy Chief Andy Hail said the men were under water for about 30 minutes before sheriff’s divers pulled them from the cold water at about 4:45 p.m.

Hail told The Spokesman-Review newspaper that at least one of the men was rushed to Providence Sacred Heart Medical Center.

A Spokane police spokeswoman said Thursday night she was not able to discuss details related to the victims pending the expected arrival Friday of a National Transportation Safety Board investigator. The NTSB was planning to raise the plane from the river Friday, Spokane Valley Fire spokeswoman Melanie Rose said.

The plane was a Piper PA46, Federal Aviation Administration spokesman Allen Kenitzer said in an email.

It was owned by Flying Colors Aviation LLC in Woodland Hills, California, the newspaper reported.

The men had reported engine trouble, KREM-TV said. A Spokane International Airport spokesman said they were trying to make an emergency landing at Felts Field, according to the TV station. Felts Field is a small public airport northeast of downtown Spokane and along the bank of the Spokane River.

The Washington state Ecology Department responded to deal with a fuel leak in the water.

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