Neighbors around Lake Goodwin were watching as three float planes approached for water landings on Saturday, Jan. 22. Two of the planes successfully came to rest in the local lake's calm waters, but a third flipped over, its wheels and pontoons clearly visible above the water's surface.
The pilot, a 55-year-old Washington man, was able to escape, but his son, 6-year-old son Jacob Jeter, was trapped in the frigid lake for more than 40 minutes before a diver was able to free him from the plane.
The boy was pronounced dead at 7:15 p.m., after being transported to Providence Hospital's Colby Campus in Everett.
According to Kristen Thorstenson, public information officer for the Marysville Fire District, the father did not require hospitalization.
Local residents tried to help, jumping in their own boats and working to pull the plane closer to the lake shore. One man even jumped into the 41-degree water and was able to cut the pilot's seat belt, but he was unable to get to the youngster.
The child was finally pulled out when divers from the Snohomish County Technical Water Rescue Team arrived on the scene about 25 minutes later.
The accident is under investigation by the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA). It appeared the plane's wheels were extended during the water landing, which may have caused the small craft to flip.
The father's name had not been released as of press time.