PGA member and his 3 children are among the dead in Idaho plane collision

Six bodies have been recovered from the Sunday collision, although not all have been publicly identified. Eight people were believed to have been on the planes.
/ Source: NBC News

A PGA official and his three children were among the fatalities in the holiday weekend's small plane collision in Idaho, authorities said Tuesday.

Two 16-year-olds, a boy and girl, and an 11-year-old boy were aboard a sightseeing seaplane when it collided with a Cessna Sunday afternoon before both aircraft descended into Lake Coeur d’Alene, the Kootenai County Sheriff’s Office said in a statement.

All eight aboard the two planes are believed to be dead.

The three minors, whose names were not released, were children and step children of Sean K. Fredrickson, 48, of Lake Oswego, Oregon, the office said. The Professional Golfers' Association of America said Monday that Fredrickson was its Pacific Northwest region president.

"Sean was an incredible father, husband, PGA Professional, mentor, and leader," the organization said in a statement. "There are never words to communicate the pain of such a loss."

PGA Member Sean Fredrickson.PGA of America

Sheriff's officials said five of six people aboard the seaplane have been identified; the pilot was Neil Lunt, 58, of nearby Liberty Lake, Washington.

The remains of three of the crash's victims were recovered overnight, sheriff's Lt. Ryan Higgins said Tuesday. Remains of six of eight people believed to have been on the two planes have been recovered so far, he said.

"That’s the number one goal that the sheriff’s department has right now is to find a those last remaining victims and bring some closure to the families," Higgins said.

Two people aboard the Cessna 206, believed to be that plane's only fliers, have been identified, but their names could not be released until family was notified, the sheriff's office said in its statement.

The seaplane was operated by sightseeing firm Brooks Sea Plane of Coeur d'Alene, Idaho, the office said. The company did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

Depth and rough weather were hindering dive teams and sonar analysis, Higgins said. Wreckage is about 127 feet below the surface of Lake Coeur d’Alene, and the debris field spans roughly 500 yards, he said.

"The seaplane has been found and we’re looking for the Cessna at this point," the lieutenant said. "There’s a chance that the planes could be intermingled."

The aircrafts collided and then descended into the lake around 2:20 p.m. on Sunday, authorities said.

Witness Patrick Pearce told the Spokane Spokesman-Review that he saw two single-engine planes coming towards each other, 800 to 900 feet above the water at a fairly high rate of speed before the collision.

Carissa Lehmkuhl, 28, told NBC News the screams and terrified faces in the boat she was on alerted her to the skies, where the aircraft had just collided. "It was a mass of debris raining down and an explosion," she said.

Higgins said the National Transportation Safety Board was investigating the cause of the crash. The sheriff's office was handling the recovery mission, he said.