SAN DIEGO (KGTV) - Family and friends are grieving the loss of a San Diego business owner, among the victims in a seaplane crash near Seattle on Sunday.
On Sunday afternoon, north of Seattle, in scenic Puget Sound, there was a horrific sound.
“All of sudden a boom. First thought was thunder. It was that loud,” said one bystander.
Witnesses say a floatplane that had left a popular tourist spot, headed toward an airport, dropped suddenly before doing a nosedive into the water.
Good Samaritans rushed in, discovering the body of a woman, as the water search began.
The active search led by the Coast Guard was called off Monday. The 9 others on board were presumed dead.
Among the victims on the plane: 60-year-old San Diegan Joanne Mera, in Seattle to visit family. Mesa is survived by her husband and three children.
A statement released by her family reads:
"Joanne Mera was someone everyone gravitated towards. She was the life of any party and the soul of our family. She was the best mom, wife, sister and friend. Our hearts are shattered, not just for our family's loss, but for the loss we know other families are feeling right now."
Mera was also a successful entrepreneur, the co-owner of an event planning company, Pacific Event Productions, in Miramar.
George Duff, co-owner of the business, wrote in a tribute on Facebook, "For over 33 years, Joanne has served as the heart of PEP … Joanne was passionate about people, their stories, and their dreams."
Artist relations manager Brian Stockard says Mera gave him his start in the entertainment industry when she booked his band for gigs in San Diego. He briefly worked for her. Over the years, they stayed in touch.
“She was fun-loving, hard-working, and a wonderful mentor. The world has lost the standard for work ethic and creativity,” said Stockard.