Navy SAR rescues passenger, pilot in small plane crash

A Navy helicopter rescued two people Monday night after their small plane crashed earlier that afternoon near Yacolt in Southwest Washington, the state Department of Transportation reported in a press release.

A search crew out of Naval Air Station Whidbey Island found the pilot and passenger near Jack Mountain.

The state reported that the single-engine plane was unable to maintain altitude while flying from Bend, Ore. to the Tacoma Narrows Airport near Gig Harbor. The plane is registered at Vashon Island.

The pilot was speaking to air traffic controllers in Portland and alerted them that the plane’s engine was running rough and the aircraft losing altitude. Voice and radar signals were lost at 3:47 p.m., but the last-known signal gave search crews a good target for where search, according to the state.

The Navy crew found the Piper around 9:30 p.m. and loaded the pilot and passenger into the helicopter and transported them to the Yacolt Primary School parking lot for medical examination. Their medical conditions were not immediately available but they 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.