Monday, March 29, 2021

WSDOT searching for missing plane in rural Clark County

Update Monday, March 29, 2021 at 10:25 p.m.

Pilot and passenger rescued after small plane crashed near Yacolt Monday afternoon

YACOLT – A Navy helicopter rescued two people Monday night after their small plane crashed near Yacolt earlier that afternoon.

The search crew out of Whidbey Island Naval Air Station found the pilot and passenger near Jack Mountain. The single-engine plane was unable to maintain altitude while flying from Bend, Oregon to the Tacoma Narrows Airport near Gig Harbor Monday afternoon. The plane is registered out of Vashon Island but names and other details of the pilot and passenger were not immediately available Monday night.

The pilot was speaking to air traffic control in Portland and alerted them when the plane’s engine started running rough and the aircraft was losing altitude. Voice and radar signals were eventually lost, but the last-known signal gave search crews a good target for which to search.

The Navy crew found the Piper around 9:30 p.m. and were able to load them into their helicopter and fly them to the Yacolt Primary School parking lot for medical examination. Their medical conditions were not available Monday evening but they were not believed to be seriously injured and were able to walk to the clearing where the helicopter picked them up.

The Navy helicopter searched by air while the Clark County Sheriff’s Office initiated a ground search. The search was coordinated by the Washington State Department of Transportation, which under state law is charged with the coordination and management of aerial search and rescue within the state.

Media questions about any investigation of cause in this matter can be directed to the National Transportation Safety Board.


Monday, March 29, 2021 at 8 p.m.

OLYMPIA - The Washington State Department of Transportation is searching for a missing plane near the town of Yacolt in Clark County.

The single engine plane was headed from Bend, Oregon, to the Tacoma Narrows Airport near Gig Harbor, Washington on Monday afternoon, March 29. The pilot was talking to air traffic control in Portland and then announced the engine was running rough and they were unable to maintain altitude and were descending through the clouds. The plane’s last radar and voice contact was at 3:47 p.m. in forest land near the town of Yacolt. Yacolt is a small town located northeast of Vancouver and south of Mount St. Helens in southwest Washington.

There is no emergency beacon signal being picked up, but the last known radar contact gives crews a target search location. The search is being conducted by air with a helicopter out of Whidbey Island Naval Air Station and on the ground by the Clark County Sheriff’s Office.

Two people were in the plane, which is registered in Washington. Further details about the plane and occupants are not being released at this time due to the ongoing search and investigation. Updates on the search will be posted on this blog. Email updates are available online via the >Air Search and Rescue listserve

WSDOT, by statute (RCW 47.68.380), is charged with the coordination and management of aerial search and rescue within the state. The agency works in conjunction with volunteer search and rescue groups, law enforcement and other agencies, such as the Navy, in carrying out such searches.