Bellingham school mourns loss of 2 children in plane crash

Logan, 9, and Mackenzie Echevarria, 5, both of Bellingham, died in a plane crash on the Olympic Peninsula on Dec. 29.
Logan, 9, and Mackenzie Echevarria, 5, both of Bellingham, died in a plane crash on the Olympic Peninsula on Dec. 29. Courtesy to The Bellingham Herald

Students and staff at Northern Heights Elementary are mourning the death of two children, victims of last week’s plane crash in the Hood Canal region northwest of Seattle.

Logan Echevarria, 9, and Mackenzie Echevarria, 5, both of Bellingham, were aboard a single-engine Cessna 180 that crashed about 7 p.m. Thursday. Also killed were the children’s grandmother, Carla Parke, 61, and her fiance, pilot Jon Bernhoft, 63, both of Sequim, various news reports said. The couple was planning to wed next month, according to KOMO-TV.

“These last few days have been very emotional and tough for our Northern Heights Elementary School family,” school Principal Pamela Pottle said Tuesday in a statement. “Our hearts and deepest sympathy are with the Echevarria family.”

Logan was in the third grade and Mackenzie was a kindergartner, said Bellingham Public Schools spokeswoman Jackie Brawley. She said the district was providing grief support counselors to students, families and staff at the school for as long as they are needed.

Neighbor Tara Shannon said her children knew Logan and Mackenzie from school and socialized with them.

Shannon established a GoFundMe account for the family after talking with the children’s parents, Sean and Liz Echevarria. As of Tuesday night, the fundraising site had received more than $21,100 in pledges toward a $30,000 goal.

Shannon said she started the fundraising to let the parents focus on family and personal matters. Parke was Liz’s mother, Shannon said.

“Who wants to think about that?” Shannon said. “I’m just trying to share (the fundraising information) wherever I can. Anything that we can do to help.”

She said Sean works for Haggen supermarkets and Liz works in a medical office and attends Whatcom Community College.

In addition to funeral expenses, Shannon said she was hoping to raise enough money to let the parents take time off work to grieve.

The single-engine, four-seat Cessna left Boeing Field in Seattle for Port Angeles just after 6 p.m. Thursday and lost contact with air traffic control about 45 minutes later, officials from the state Department of Transportation told the Peninsula Daily News and The Associated Press. Searchers found the wreckage in a heavily wooded ravine in Jefferson County on Friday morning.

The plane’s wreckage “was not spread out all over, or anything,” Jefferson County Undersheriff Joe Nole told the Peninsula Daily News. An eyewitness told the newspaper that there was no fire, and the plane seemed to just drop from the sky.

An emergency transmitter gave searchers the general location of the plane, Nole said. Autopsies were set for Tuesday in Kitsap County.

Robert Mittendorf: 360-756-2805, @BhamMitty