Monday, August 19, 2013

Cessna 172B Skyhawk, N8141X: Accident occurred August 18, 2013 in Sisters, Oregon

NTSB Identification: WPR13LA378 
14 CFR Part 91: General Aviation
Accident occurred Sunday, August 18, 2013 in Sisters, OR
Aircraft: CESSNA 172B, registration: N8141X
Injuries: 4 Uninjured.

This is preliminary information, subject to change, and may contain errors. Any errors in this report will be corrected when the final report has been completed. NTSB investigators may not have traveled in support of this investigation and used data provided by various sources to prepare this aircraft accident report.

On August 18, 2013, about 1000 Pacific daylight time, a Cessna 172B airplane, N8141X, sustained substantial damage following a loss of engine power during cruise flight, and ditched into a remote mountain lake, about 18 miles northwest of Sisters, Oregon. The airplane was being operated by the pilot as a personal local flight, under the provisions of Title 14, Code of Federal Regulations (CFR), Part 91. Visual meteorological conditions prevailed at the time of the accident, and no flight plan was filed. The pilot and the three passengers were not injured. The flight departed the Lebanon Airport, Lebanon, Oregon, (S30) about 0745.

During a telephone interview with the National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) investigator-in-charge (IIC) on August 22, the pilot said that he and his passengers had flown to the remote area to scout potential camp sites for an upcoming trip to the area.

During the return flight to the airport, the engine abruptly quit. He was able to restart the engine, and suspecting the possibility of carburetor ice, he used carburetor heat. The engine ran for about 5 minutes, and abruptly quit again. He was able to restart the engine, which ran for 2-3 minutes before quitting for the third time. He restarted the engine, but it ran for less than one minute. He was unable to restart the engine.

The pilot had been flying over heavily wooded, rugged terrain, when he elected to ditch the airplane in a lake. He prepared the airplane and passengers for the ditching. After the airplane came to rest in the water near a shoreline, the pilot and passengers exited the airplane as the cabin filled with water and swam to shore.

The airplane sank in about 8 feet of water, coming to rest on the bottom of the lake, with its tail protruding above the surface.

According to the pilot, the airplane is owned by a family member, and they have been flying it for the past 3-4 years. He said there were no known mechanical problems with the airplane prior to the accident.

The airplane has not been recovered from the lake.


MARION FORKS — There’s a good chance a 1961 Cessna 172 sitting at the bottom of Marion Lake may fly again some day, according to Larry Lewis, an investigator for the National Transportation Safety Board.

Pilot Travor Schultz, 28, of Lebanon glided the plane into the lake after its engine stalled four times a little after 10 a.m. Sunday. Schultz and his three passengers escaped the plane uninjured before it sank. Boy Scouts from Salem who were camping near the lake assisted the four and guided them to a nearby trailhead to meet Linn County deputies.

“It’s in fresh water, not salt water,” Lewis said. “There probably wasn’t a lot of damage to the plane itself, or the four passengers probably would not have been able to get out without injury.”

But extrication will be a little more difficult than similar crashes because Marion Lake is in the Jefferson Wildness Area of the Willamette National Forest, where motorized vehicles and equipment are not allowed.

Lewis spent 13 years with the NTSB in Alaska and has investigated numerous plane crashes involving water landings.

“The process is that we’ve been dealing with the owners’ insurance company,” Lewis said. “They’ve gotten in touch with a salvage company from the Oregon coast, and they’re developing a plan to raise the plane.”

Lewis said he has not visited the lake, but will examine the plane once it is on dry land. He works out of a home office north of Spokane.

“Typically, a helicopter will pluck the plane out of the water and airlift it to a nearby landing, where the wings will be taken off and the body put on a truck to be moved to an airport,” Lewis said.

Lewis said that in most cases like this, large float bags will be attached to the plane. They will be filled with air and the plane floated to the surface.

“I don’t know what the shoreline is like, but usually, they tow the plane to a beach and let the water drain out of it,” Lewis said.

Marion Lake encompasses about 300 acres in the far northeast corner of Linn County.

Aircraft landed on Marion Lake and sank, the 4 persons on board swam to shore, near Marion Forks, Oregon

Ben Kamph /The Statesman

Ben Kamph /The Statesman

Ben Kamph /The Statesman

Ben Kamph /The Statesman

Ben Kamph /The Statesman

  Ben Kamph of McMinnville was hiking a trail with his son and family members near Marion Lake Sunday morning when they noticed a single-engine plane fall from about 8,000 feet in the air. 
 “We were on a trail and saw a plane shaking and going down,” he said.

Kamph didn’t see the plane land, but after heading down to Marion Lake where it eventually landed, he saw four passengers swim to shore.

Campers who were closer to the lake saw the plane land in the water about 200 feet from shore, he said.

The four passengers survived the crash, but the plane sunk quickly.

“It sunk within a matter of seconds,” Kamph said. “The entire plane was under water.”

According to the Linn County Sheriff’s Office, deputies were notified of the crash around 11:30 a.m. Marion Lake is located in the Willamette National Forest about three miles east of Highway 22. It is accessed by hiking about two miles from the end of Marion Road.

The single engine fixed winged airplane crashed after losing power.

Trevor Jordan Schultze, 28, was flying the plane, which also carried Tim Lee Miller, 47, Tyrel Miller, 13, and Megan Miller, 12 from the Lebanon area. They were found by deputies unharmed. The plane reportedly began experiencing engine problems around 10 a.m. and within a few minutes had total engine failure. Schultze spotted Marion Lake and glided the plane safely to the water.

Kamph said that the 13-year-old passenger jumped from the plane while it was still in the air.

A Boy Scout troop from Salem was camping at Marion Lake when the plane crashed. Troop members led the pilot and passengers to the trail head where they met with law enforcement personnel.

The Federal Aviation Administration and National Transport Safety Board will continue the investigation into the incident and arrange for retrieval of the plane.