First responders crossed the Rogue River at Ennis Riffle to a plane that made an emergency water landing on May 31. [Rural Metro Fire photo]
Neither pilot nor passenger injured in the accident of May 31
An experimental plane that crashed near Hellgate Canyon while a rafting outfitter was conducting water rescue training had only been in the air for about 10 minutes before the pilot began having engine trouble.
Neither the pilot nor his passenger were injured when the plane, described as a kit-built Vans RV-8, crashed into the Rogue River outside Galicia around 9.40 a.m. on May 31, according to a preliminary report from National Transportation Safety. Plank.
Local rafting outfitter OARS, which was conducting training nearby, assisted in the rescue of the pilot and passenger after the splashdown, according to the Josephine County Sheriff’s Office and Rural Metro Fire.
According to the NTSB, the plane took off from Runway 31 at Grants Pass Airport around 9:30 a.m. for a scheduled 20-minute flight.
The pilot reached an altitude of approximately 3,000ft while maneuvering over the river when he reportedly heard a “pop” coming from the plane’s engine bay and lost power to the four-cylinder engine Lycoming 0-320 from the plane, according to the NTSB report. about the accident.
The pilot was not named in the report and the plane’s N number shows the plane was removed from the federal database on Monday.
The pilot tried adding full throttle, checked that the mixture going to the engine was rich in fuel, ran the aircraft’s magnetos (used to provide spark on aircraft engines) and tried to switch from the main fuel tank to its reserve tank.
Despite the pilot’s efforts to troubleshoot, the engine did not restart, the NTSB report said. The pilot set his sights on a spot for an emergency landing.
The plane, with an enclosed tandem-style cockpit, was too high for an emergency landing on gravel bars in the immediate area, according to the report, so instead the pilot landed in a calm current of the river just above Ennis Riffle, “near some exposed rocks”, according to the report.
“The aircraft touched down on rocks and they sat on the canopy for about 15 minutes,” the report said.
The pilot and passenger were uninjured, and swift-water rescue divers transported the pilot and passenger to shore.
The plane was substantially damaged in the accident, according to the preliminary report. The pilot estimated that the aircraft had approximately 30 gallons of fuel on board at the time of the crash.
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