Mission 04-03
Aircraft Crash, near Molalla

by Joy Linn

Member hours: 34. Member miles: 580.       Participants: J. Linn, S. Linn, J. Sears, N. Vitagliano


Cessna amid brush on steep terrain
At around 1400 Tuesday, 18 May, a Cessna 185 flown by Richard Wood, 64, a Hillsboro pilot, disappeared off the radar. He had been scheduled to land in Hillsboro at 2000. The plane went down near Molalla. Weather delayed search efforts until Wednesday morning, when 1 of 2 Blackhawk helicopters from the 1042nd assisting in the search located the wreckage around 1100. A team of volunteers, along with Clackamas County Sheriff deputies, reached the crash site on Wednesday afternoon. However, fog rolled in and the recovery effort was called off.

Redirection to raise wing and stablize aircraft

Rigging attached to aircraft
At 2300 on 19 May, CMRU received a mutual aid request from Clackamas County. Assistance was requested with the recovery of Mr. Wood. Portland Mountain Rescue had been involved in several missions over the preceding days and was unavailable. The crash site was estimated to be at 3500-4000ft elevation, less than a mile from a logging road in a clear cut, with steep terrain. Staging was to be at 0900, with PJs from the 304th scheduled. Equipment taken included a complete rack and a Sked. The 304th was provided with a complete briefing sheet and accurate coordinates. CMRU was not. Three CMRU members, along with 4 PJs and 2 AMR members, hiked to the crash site after being dropped off in the wrong drainage.

PJ signaling helicopter to begin lift
The PJs brought extrication equipment and were successful at recovering the pilot’s body. CMRU members assisted with stabilizing the plane and raising a wing of the aircraft to facilitate access. The PJs elected to use CMRU’s Sked as it was felt their lightweight one was not appropriate. The body was lifted out by helicopter around 1300. This was done using a short haul with the Sked in the vertical position .All CMRU members were reported on their way home at 1450, with the last one arriving home at 1750.

Helicopter beginning short haul.

Photos courtesy of Scott Linn