Remains of pilot recovered near Snoqualmie Pass after Arlington flight

Jerry Riedinger never made it to Ephrata after departing the Arlington airport Sunday. Investigators have not determined the cause of the crash.

Jerry Riedinger (Photo provided by Perkins Coie)

Jerry Riedinger (Photo provided by Perkins Coie)

ARLINGTON — The King County Sheriff’s Office has recovered the remains of an Issaquah aerobatics pilot and patent attorney who crashed near Snoqualmie Pass over the weekend.

The state Department of Transportation’s Air Search and Rescue team, in tandem with ground crews, found Jerry Riedinger deceased in his plane Monday after a search that lasted over 19 hours. The sheriff’s office declined to disclose when or how authorities recovered his body.

The King County Medical Examiner’s Office will determine the manner and cause of death. As of Thursday, the office had not completed an autopsy.

The National Transportation Safety Board is investigating the cause of the crash.

Around 4:30 p.m. Sunday, Riedinger, 69, took off from Arlington Municipal Airport in a 2001 Extra Flugzeugbau E300L, headed about 200 miles southeast to Ephrata, according to the state Department of Transportation. About 90 minutes later, his wife reported he never made it to his destination.

On Sunday evening, state Air Search and Rescue, along with King County sheriff’s deputies, searched along I-90 near Snoqualmie Pass, “where last known cell phone analytics were recovered,” about 90 miles southeast of Arlington.

Over 220 people from local agencies joined in the search. Search efforts were concentrated in the Humpback Mountain area, west of Snoqualmie Pass. The plane was discovered around 1:30 p.m. Monday, in what authorities described as a “heavily forested area of the mountain.”

By state law, the state Department of Transportation is tasked with coordinating search and rescue missions within the state. After the plane and Riedinger’s body were discovered, the sheriff’s office led the operation to recover the body.

The Extra 300L plane was registered to a downtown Seattle address. It had first been certified airworthy in 2001, and it was powered by the standard-issue Lycoming AEIO-540 engine, according to a Federal Aviation Administration registry.

Riedinger was a patent attorney with decades of experience. He also flew planes in airshows around the West.

An NTSB spokesperson said investigators were expected to be on the crash scene this week to begin examining the wreckage.

“The aircraft will then be recovered to a secure facility for further evaluation,” said Sarah Taylor Sulick, an NTSB spokesperson, in an email.

“The preliminary information we have,” Sulick added, “is the airplane impacted wooded mountainous terrain under unknown circumstances.”

An initial report was expected to be released in the next 30 days.

More complete investigative reports on plane crashes typically take the safety board a year to complete.

Jonathan Tall: 425-339-3486; jonathan.tall@heraldnet.com; Twitter: @snocojon.

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