Two people survive plane crash near Yacolt, rescued via helicopter


Survivors located by Clark County Sheriff’s Office and search and rescue workers

CLARK COUNTY — Yesterday at about 4:00 in the afternoon, traffic control at Portland International Airport became aware of a possible downed plane near Gumboot Mountain on the Clark and Skamania County border. 

The airport contacted Clark Regional Emergency Services Agency (CRESA) and alerted them to the crash which would be near the Sunset Falls Campground. The plane was described as a Piper PA-32 Saratoga with two souls on board. 

Deputies from CCSO and CCSO SAR members used drones to search the area, while waiting for the SAR helicopter to arrive. Photo courtesy of CCSO
Deputies from CCSO and CCSO SAR members used drones to search the area, while waiting for the SAR helicopter to arrive. Photo courtesy of CCSO

Deputies from the Clark County Sheriff’s Office (CCSO) were dispatched to the area and set up a command post at the Sunset Falls Campground. Search and Rescue coordinators from CCSO requested assistance from the Clark County Sheriff’s Office Civilian Search and Rescue Team (CCSO SAR), the Volcano Rescue Team (VRT) and a SAR helicopter from the Naval Air Station on Whidbey Island. 

Deputies from CCSO and CCSO SAR members used drones to search the area, while waiting for the SAR helicopter to arrive. Additionally, members of CCSO SAR and VRT conducted ground searches of the area. 

The SAR helicopter arrived in the area at about 8:30 p.m. and at just after 9:00 p.m. located the downed aircraft. 

The names of the pilot and passenger are not being released at this time, and the NTSB should be contacted for any follow up questions regarding the cause of the crash or any specifics of the flight. Photo courtesy of CCSO
The names of the pilot and passenger are not being released at this time, and the NTSB should be contacted for any follow up questions regarding the cause of the crash or any specifics of the flight. Photo courtesy of CCSO

A crew member from the SAR helicopter was lowered to the crash site and confirmed both the pilot and passenger were alive and had only minor injuries.  Both were hoisted to the SAR helicopter and flown to a landing zone on the north side of the Yacolt Primary School. 

The pilot and passenger were both taken to the North Country EMS station in Yacolt where they were treated for their minor injuries and given food and water. The two were then transported by CCSO to the West Precinct Office where they were picked up by a family member. 

The location of the crash site ended up being in Skamania County, and the National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) will be the investigating agency.    

The names of the pilot and passenger are not being released at this time, and the NTSB should be contacted for any follow up questions regarding the cause of the crash or any specifics of the flight.

The pilot and passenger were transported by CCSO to the West Precinct Office where they were picked up by a family member. Photo courtesy of CCSO
The pilot and passenger were transported by CCSO to the West Precinct Office where they were picked up by a family member. Photo courtesy of CCSO

The Clark County Sheriff’s Office would like to thank the following organizations for their work in this mission:

  • US Navy – Naval Air Station Whidbey Island
  • Clark County Sheriff’s Office Civilian Search and Rescue Team
  • Washington State Emergency Operations Center
  • Clark Regional Emergency Services Agency
  • Department of Emergency Management
  • Skamania County Sheriff’s Office
  • US Forest Service – LE Division
  • North Country EMS

Information provided by the Clark County Sheriff’s Office

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