On July 5, 2020, two small planes collided over Coeur d’Alene Lake in Idaho, killing eight people. The midair collision, which involved a Cessna TU206 and a de Havilland DHC-2, occurred at approximately 2:22 p.m. local time. Both planes plummeted into the lake and sank. There were no survivors.
According to officials from the National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB), 67-year-old pilot Jay Cawley of Lewiston, Idaho and 61-year-old Kelly Kreeger of Rocklin, California departed from Coeur d’Alene Airport with an intended destination of Lewiston, Idaho.
The de Havilland, a floatplane operated by Coeur d’Alene-based Brooks Seaplanes, departed from a seaplane base located at the north end of Coeur d’Alene Lake for an air tour that was supposed to last 20 minutes.
Liberty Lake, Washington resident Neil Lunt, 58, was piloting the air tour floatplane. His passengers included 48-year-old Sean Fredrickson, his three children, Hayden, Sofie, and Quinn, and 57-year-old David Sorenson of Clayton, California.
Mr. Frederickson and his family resided in Lake Oswego, Oregon. He was the Professional Golfers’ Association of America’s Northwest region president.
“Sean was an incredible father, husband, PGA Professional, mentor, and leader,” said the PGA in a statement following the Coeur d’Alene plane crash. “There are never words to communicate the pain of such a loss.”
What Caused the Coeur d’Alene Plane Crash?
According to witnesses, the de Havilland floatplane was flying in a northerly heading while the Cessna was flying south. Both were at an altitude of approximately 700-800ft. above the lake with the Cessna flying slightly lower than the de Havilland when the collision occurred.
Witnesses then observed a fireball come from one of the planes as both fell from the sky and hit the water. “It was a mass of debris raining down and an explosion,” said witness Carissa Lehmkuhl, who was on a boat at the time of the Coeur d’Alene plane crash.
NTSB officials say there was no radar or automatic dependent surveillance-broadcast data for either aircraft. The NTSB is handling the Idaho plane crash investigation, including determining the cause of the accident. Agency spokesperson Terry Williams said it will likely take at least a year before a final determination of the cause of the crash can be made. Williams added that a preliminary cause could be released once the investigation progresses.
Small Plane Crash Attorneys with Decades of Experience
The aviation attorneys at the law firm of Baum Hedlund Aristei & Goldman have experience litigating cases involving private, commercial, sightseeing tours, and charter planes, including more than 100 cases involving Cessna, de Havilland, Piper, or Beechcraft planes.
Our small plane crash lawyers are skilled investigators who work tirelessly to determine whether an aviation accident was caused by pilot error, weather, air traffic controller negligence, defective parts, or a manufacturing error. Once we determine the cause, we pursue the necessary claims against any and all negligent parties to ensure justice and maximum compensation for our clients and their families.
If you or a member of your family were in a small plane crash or another type of general aviation accident, it is in your best interest to speak with an attorney experienced in pursuing claims against private pilots, manufacturers, and other negligent third parties. To speak with an aviation attorney about your case, give us a call at (855) 948-5098 or contact us.