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Navy helicopter crew rescues pilot, passenger after small plane crash in Washington state

The Associated Press

An MH-60S Seahawk helicopter assigned to Naval Air Station Whidbey Island Search and Rescue flies over Naval Station Everett during a training exercise Nov. 5, 2020. (MC3 Ethan Soto/Navy)
YACOLT, Wash. — A U.S. Navy helicopter crew late Monday night rescued the pilot and the passenger of a small plane that went down in forest land near Yacolt, Washington, according to the Washington Department of Transportation.

Authorities began searching for the small plane after its pilot reported engine trouble Monday afternoon, KATU reported. The plane originated in Bend, Oregon, and was headed to the Tacoma Narrows Airport near Gig Harbor, Washington.

The pilot told air traffic controllers they were unable to maintain altitude and were descending through the clouds. Air traffic controllers lost radar contact with the plane shortly before 4 p.m. as it flew over forestland near Yacolt. The plane did not emit an emergency signal, but that last radar contact gave search and rescue crews a good idea where the plane went down.

According to WSDOT, the helicopter crew spotted the two people and their aircraft near Jack Mountain around 9:30 p.m. They picked them up in a clearing and flew them to Yacolt Primary School’s parking lot to be checked out.

Officials say they were treated for their minor injuries and given food and water, according to the Clark County Sheriff’s Office. The two were then transported by CCSO to the West Precinct Office where they were picked up by a family member.