Flight Missing For Two Weeks
A private search team has found what could be the wreckage of a
Cessna 170 (file photo of type, below), two weeks after the plane
failed to arrive at Auburn (WA).
As for the two men on board, pilot David Verstrate, 65, of
Federal Way, and his brother-in-law, Harold Bennett, 59, of
Puyallup, Bob Mester of Underwater Admiralty Services believes
their bodies are still on board.
"The airplane is intact, so my guess would be they're still
strapped into the pilot and passenger's position," Mester said.
The Civil Air Patrol led an intensive air and land search after
the aircraft went missing on March 1st. But Mester's company found
what he thinks is the missing aircraft, resting at the bottom of
Washington's Case Inlet. Using sonar, he was able to compile a
picture of the aircraft, resting upside down at the bottom of the
"I'm quite confident it is the plane, because ... it fit the
general length, width and characteristics right down to the money,"
Family friend Casey Smith says he's certain the wreckage at the
bottom of the inlet is the missing 170. He said the CAP had spotted
an oil slick in the area a week after the aircraft went missing.
"We need to get these guys out of there, it's been two weeks and if
we wait much longer there's really not going to be anything to
bring up," Smith told The Associated Press Saturday night.
In fact, Smith said the family was incredulous that the aircraft
hadn't been raised by now. "At this point we're just going to
consider hiring an attorney over this deal because it's been two
weeks now and now it's confirmed the plane is down there, now they
won't even let us go down and get the victims out so we can put
them to burial," he said.