Ten years ago today two Queen Anne families died in a plane crash returning from a vacation in Mexico together. Alaska Airlines flight 261 went down off the coast of Southern California, taking 88 lives, including those of the Clemetsons, the Pearsons, and their six children, ages six months to just eight years old. And although the tragedy happened a decade ago, the community will never forget.
In their honor, friends and neighbors dedicated Queen Anne’s Soundview Terrace Park to Carolyn Margiotta and David Clemetson and their children, Cori, Blake, Miles and Spencer, and Sarah Manning, Rod, Rachel and Gracie Pearson.
They remember the children as best friends and even renamed the park “Rachel’s Playground,” after one of the girls, who would be getting her drivers license this year.
Every year a small group gathers for a memorial service at the park, but as this year marks the 10th anniversary of the crash, friends and neighbors of the families have decided to open up the memorial to the public, in honor of all of the lives lost that day.
Anyone is welcome to join in for music and a candle lighting today, from 3:30 to 4:30 p.m. at Rachel’s Playground, located at 2500 11 Ave W. They will be lighting 88 candles – one for each person on flight 261.
Two friends, Mari Ingram and Stephanie Bower, are the organizers behind today’s memorial. For them, even ten years later, they cannot forget their friends.
“It’s hard to imagine an entire family just disappearing,” Bower told KING5. ”At their house you could still smell the coffee on the kitchen table.”
“It’s like they were trapped in time,” Ingram added.
Read more on the 10th anniversary of the Alaska Airlines flight 261 crash at our news partner, the Seattle Times.