Six bodies have been recovered in the devastating crash that killed three of Megan Hilty‘s family members, ET has confirmed. The announcement by Island County Emergency Management comes nearly one month after the plane crashed into Washington’s Puget Sound, killing 10, including Hilty’s sister, brother-in-law and their son, Remy. The Broadway star’s sister was also eight months pregnant at the time, expecting another son in October.
In addition, per Island County Department of Emergency Management Deputy Director Eric Brooks, on Sept. 16, there was a body discovered on Dungeness Spit in Sequim, Washington. The body has not been identified as one of the passengers yet, but if identified as such, it would bring the total recovered up to seven.
Last month, the National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) announced that they located the wreckage from the float plane crash on Sept. 4.
“Due to the depth of the water (approximately 190 feet) and the current (3-5 knots), the most suitable tool for recovery is a work class remotely operated vehicle (ROV),” the statement on the NTSB’s site read. “NTSB continues to be in communication with federal agencies and local companies to obtain a work class ROV.”
According to The Seattle Times on Sept. 13, only one body, identified as 29-year-old attorney Gabby Hanna, had been recovered.
Hilty’s family first spoke out in a statement to Seattle NBC affiliate KING 5, saying, “We are deeply saddened and beyond devastated at the loss of our beloved Ross Mickel, Lauren Hilty, Remy and their unborn baby boy, Luca. Our collective grief is unimaginable. They were a bright and shining light in the lives of everyone who knew them. Although their time with us was too short, we will carry their legacy forward.”
The following day, Hilty shared an emotional statement alongside a photo of her family on Instagram.
“On Sunday afternoon, a small float plane crashed into Puget Sound off the coast of Whidbey Island. My beloved sister Lauren, brother-in-law Ross and baby nephew Remy were on that plane,” the 41-year-old Smash star wrote. “To make this news even more devastating, my sister was eight months pregnant and we were expecting to welcome baby boy Luca into the world next month.”
“The last three days have been the worst of our lives. There are truly no words to appropriately convey the depth of our grief. The last thing I wanted to do was acknowledge this painful family tragedy publicly, but it’s come to my attention that several news outlets have misgendered my sweet nephew and some haven’t even mentioned baby Luca,” she continued. “Lauren and Ross left behind my niece who we are all holding in our hearts. Thankfully, she was not on the plane and we ask that her name and personal information be kept private as she is a minor. It is important these details be corrected to respectfully honor everyone we’ve lost and the loved ones they’ve left behind. The outpouring of love and support has meant so much to everyone in our family. It has been so comforting to know just how loved Lauren, Ross, Remy and Luca truly are.”
Also killed were pilot Jason Winters, passenger Joanne Mera, civil rights activist Sandra Williams and her partner, retired teacher Patt Hicks, and married couple Luke and Rebecca Ludwig.
On Thursday, the NTSB took to Twitter, sharing images of aircraft’s engine after it was recovered, as well as the equipment officials are using to assist with recovery operations.
NTSB and @USNavy continue recovery operations for the Sept. 4 crash of a DHC-3 Turbine Otter off Whidbey Island, WA. NTSB investigators look at the recovered engine of the aircraft and the Deep Drone 8000 ROV is pictured on the barge during recovery operations. pic.twitter.com/VSNUVuyzsE
— NTSB Newsroom (@NTSB_Newsroom) September 30, 2022
About 80 percent of the aircraft’s wreckage has been recovered since crews began the job last Tuesday, NTSB Chair Jennifer Homendy told KING 5.
According to the outlet, search crews are still attempting to locate one of the plane’s wings, a portion of its horizontal stabilizer, two elevators, and the ailerons, with KING 5 reporting that it could take one to two years for investigators to determine an official cause of the crash.