Searchers found the wreckage Monday night after following the scent of fuel to the crash site. They were able to verify by serial number that it was the plane carrying nine skydivers and a pilot that went missing a day earlier, said Tina Wilson, a Yakima Valley Emergency Management spokeswoman. Authorities believe it unlikely that the three people missing survived the crash.
The names of those aboard were not released. Jim Hall, director of Yakima Valley Emergency Management, said the families were notified.
One man at a Red Cross center said his 30-year-old son was aboard the plane. He displayed a family photo of the young man skydiving with a brother and sister.
"He worked hard and he played hard - we just want to find him," said the father, who did not give his name.
The National Transportation Safety Board was to begin an investigation Tuesday.
Based on radar transmissions and a hunter's report of seeing a plane flying low Sunday evening and then hearing a crash, the search was focused on a steep, densely forested area.
Elaine Harvey, co-owner of the skydiving company Skydive Snohomish, told The Seattle Times that nine of the 10 aboard were either employees of her business or licensed skydivers.
The company had nothing to do with their flight, Harvey said.
Harvey did not return telephone messages from The Associated Press seeking additional comment.
The plane was registered to Kapowsin Air Sports, located near Olympia. Geoff Farrington, Kapowsin's co-owner, said the company had never before lost a plane. He also said the plane had never experienced mechanical problems.
The single-engine plane was built in 1994, according to FAA records.