The search for three people missing and believed dead in a plane crash in Washington state's rugged Cascade Mountains is in full swing.
The debris at the remote crash site indicated that the single-engine plane, which was carrying skydivers from an event in neighboring Idaho, went down in a steep nosedive, Yakima County Sheriff Ken Irwin told a news conference.
"I'm told it was a horrific sight and the airplane crashed at a fairly high speed," said Jim Hall, director of Yakima Valley Emergency Management.
Searchers found the wreckage Monday night after following the scent of fuel to the crash site. They were able to verify by serial number that it was the plane that went missing a day earlier, said Tina Wilson, a Yakima Valley Emergency Management spokeswoman. Authorities believe it unlikely that the three people missing survived the crash.
"We have found no survivors at this time," Irwin said.
Kelly Craig, whose brother Casey died in the crash, said the skydivers on board had made lots of jumps over the weekend. He doubted they would have been prepared for an emergency jump, because no jumps were planned during the flight home.
The names of those aboard were not released.
Search teams will continue looking as long as it takes to find all those on board, then local authorities will turn the investigation over to the Federal Aviation Administration and the National Transportation Safety Board, Irwin said.
Elaine Harvey, co-owner of the skydiving company Skydive Snohomish, told The Seattle Times that nine of the 10 aboard were either employees of her business or licensed skydivers.
The company had nothing to do with their flight, Harvey said.
Harvey did not return telephone messages from The Associated Press seeking additional comment.
The plane was registered to Kapowsin Air Sports, located near Olympia. Geoff Farrington, Kapowsin's co-owner, said the company had never before lost a plane. He also said the plane had never experienced mechanical problems.
The single-engine plane was built in 1994, according to FAA records.