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Ground crews set out for crash site

— Ground search crews under the direction of the Skagit County Sheriff’s Office set out this morning at 8 to find what is believed to be airplane wreckage located last night in the North Cascade Mountains.

“No positive identification of the plane or occupants can be made until crews reach the site,” state Department of Transportation officials said Wednesday. “Helicopter air support may also be used in the search as needed.”

The plane is believed to the one owned by a couple who took off Saturday from Kalispell, Mont., officials said. It likely contains the bodies of the pilot and his wife, Leland Bowman, 62, and Sharon, 63, both of Marion, Mont.

The Bowman’s are step-grandparents to Autumn Veatch, a 16-year-old girl who walked from the crash site out of the mountains Monday afternoon. She suffered minor injuries and was taken to Three Rivers Hospital in Brewster on Monday and discharged Tuesday.

In a separate case, the state Department of Transportations’ Aviation Emergency Services is searching for another overdue plane; it was bound for Orcas Island on Saturday, but never arrived.

The private plane's two occupants were on vacation from Minnesota. Their names were not immediately available.

Officials said they are primarily searching in Whatcom County for that aircraft.

“There is no evidence the two missing planes were involved in any mid-air collision,” officials said. “The Minnesota plane left radar several hours before the Montana plane was last tracked on radar. Search efforts for both planes continue at this time.”

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