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Feb-10-2011 17:14printcomments

Pilot Flips a Friend's Plane on Willamette River and Escapes Unharmed

The 66-year-old pilot from Tualatin was wearing a seatbelt at the time of the crash.

Floatplane crash in the Willamette River 9 Feb 2011
Photos courtesy: Clackamas County Sheriff's Office

(CLACKAMAS, Ore.) - The pilot of a floatplane attempting to land on the Willamette River Wednesday afternoon, flipped his plane as he touched down on the waters surface; yet, he was able to escape from the fuselage and float with the current while clinging to the submerged, upside-down craft unharmed.

On Wednesday, February 09, 2011 at 2:00 p.m. a citizen called 911 dispatchers reporting a man floating down river an estimated 3 miles west of the I-5 Bridge crossing the Willamette River, in Wilsonville. Rescue personnel represented by the Clackamas County Sheriff's Office, Marine and Dive Rescue Unit, the Aurora Fire Department, Tualatin Fire & Rescue and the American Medical Response made a swift response to the reported scene. It was soon discovered the male subject (pilot) was clinging to a pontoon of the upside-down and submerged plane.

American Medical Response was first on the scene and directed a recreational boater in the immediate area to rescue the man in the water. The 66-year-old pilot is reported to have first declined any additional medical attention; however, his wife arrived on the scene (insisting) and he wisely allowed AMR to transport him to a local hospital for a more thorough hospital medical evaluation. A Clackamas County Sheriff's Deputy reports he spoke with the pilot and learned the pilot is very experienced.

Fortunately, the pilot was not injured, but feels badly describing how he crashed a friend's airplane – not is own plane.

The crashed planes owner is also reported to be out-of-state at this time.

The 66-year-old pilot from Tualatin was wearing a seatbelt at the time of the crash, and appears to have escaped this incident with very minor scratches. The airplane is currently secured to a dock an estimated 3 miles west of the I-5 Bridge.

The Federal Aviation Administration has been advised of this event by Sheriff's Office Marine Deputies. The submerged plane is not leaking fuel and does not appear to pose a threat to the environment.

With FAA approval, the plane will most probably be soon towed by Clackamas County Sheriff's Office Marine Deputies to the Boone Bridge Boat Ramp, in Wilsonville.

News Release from: Clackamas Co. Sheriff's Office

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Sean Flynn was a photojournalist in Vietnam, taken captive in 1970 in Cambodia and never seen again.