The jets crashed and plunged into Lake Coeur d’Alene, a popular summer tourist destination some 350 miles north of state capital Boise, on Sunday afternoon.
Three bodies have been retrieved from the lake. They could not be immediately identified “due to the nature to the accident,” Kootenai County Sheriff Ben Wolfinger said.
“At this time it is believed there are no survivors,” Wolfinger said in a statement.
Four victims on board a de Havilland DHC-2 run by local tourism company Brooks Seaplanes were related, believed to be “father and kids,” said sheriff’s office lieutenant Ryan Higgins at a press conference.
A fifth passenger and pilot are also believed to have perished on board, while the other aircraft — a Cessna 2006 — had at least two people on board.
Higgins described the crash as the “traffic and tragic incident we’ve had.”
The planes’ wreckage was identified using sonar in 120 feet of water, with an underwater remote control submarine able to locate two further bodies yet to be retrieved.