Seattle/ Transportation & Infrastructure
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Published on May 23, 2024
Pilot Found Deceased Amid Wreckage on Humpback Mountain West of Snoqualmie PassSource: Unsplash/Scott Rodgerson

The search for a plane that vanished on Sunday came to a tragic end when authorities located the wreckage on Humpback Mountain, ending a two-day rescue operation. The pilot, 69-year-old Jerry Riedinger, was pronounced dead, found amid the debris in a dense section of the mountainous terrain. Riedinger had embarked from Arlington Municipal Airport around 4:30 p.m. according to WSDOT, only to never reach his planned destination in Ephrata.

His wife reported him missing shortly after the expected arrival time, with the search efforts intensifying and zeroing in on an area west of Snoqualmie Pass where the wreckage was eventually found just after 1:30 p.m. on Monday. Traveling near Humpback Mountain off Interstate 90, Riedinger's last known cell phone and flight data would be the beacon guiding the search crews to the site. Over 220 individuals including regional search and rescue teams and local volunteers combed the area, in a joint operation that included extensive support from air and on-ground teams.

After discovering Riedinger deceased in the heavily forested crash site, the family was promptly notified by search coordinators. "On behalf of the search and rescue team, WSDOT offers our sincere condolences to the entire Riedinger family," was the statement provided by the Washington State Department of Transportation to WSDOT. The dedicated efforts of all participating were recognized and appreciated, from the volunteers to the multiple search and rescue squadrons that engaged in the search.

Agencies that were instrumental in the mission included King County Search and Rescue, the King and Kittitas County Sheriff's Offices, Seattle Mountain Rescue, and several other local teams. Flying near Humpback Mountain, Snoqualmie Pass Ski Patrol Rescue also joined efforts, as well as King and Pierce County Explorer Search and Rescue, and Washington Air Search and Rescue, according to officials from WSDOT. The somber outcome offers closure to the tireless search, as the local community mourns the loss of one of its own.

Seattle-Transportation & Infrastructure