LEBANON, Ore. – Four airplane passengers, including two children, are safe after their plane crash-landed in Marion Lake Sunday morning.
The 28-year-old pilot from Lebanon, Trevor Schultz, says he and three family friends were going on a leisurely Sunday ride to scope out good camping areas around the Willamette National Forest by Mount Jefferson. Schultz, along with Tim Miller of Lebanon and his two children, Tyrel, 13, and Megan, 12, left the Lebanon Municipal Airport around 7:30 am on Sunday.
But the ride quickly turned to what every pilot and passenger fears. Schultz says the engine stopped working.
“It just shut off,” he said. “No sputtering, no cough, no hiccup. I ran it again for two to three minutes, then it shut off again.”
Shultz says after the third time, he knew the engine was not going to turn back on.
“A lot was going through my mind,” Schultz said. “But they were quiet, they were letting me think and act.”
The pilot says his passengers remained calm, even the two children who were sitting in the back seat of the two-door, single engine, Cessna 172B.
Schultz says he remembered seeing Marion Lake a mile and a half away, and he knew landing on the lake was their best bet for survival.
After gliding the plane at 60 miles an hour to the lake, Schultz was successfully able to land the plane on the water peacefully.
“All I could do was make sure everyone was out. Tim and I opened the doors and made sure the kids got out, then we hopped out.” Schultz said.
The pilot says the four of them swam a few hundred feet to shore, and within minutes the plane had already sunk.
The Linn County Sheriff’s Office received a call just before 11:30 am, and sent deputies out to help.
“Investigators responded to the scene and found that a ranger had actually been at the scene and had seen a plane go into the water,” Undersheriff Bruce Riley said. “I just think that he was very fortunate that when he experienced those mechanical problems, to happen to be over a body of water.”
Not only were there campers on scene to help the passengers, but there were also Boy Scouts at a nearby campground, who offered the passengers dry clothes.
Investigators are still investigating the crash and plan to retrieve the plane from the water, but Undersheriff Riley says he does not suspect any foul play.
“There’s nothing to indicate criminal activity in this particular situation,” he said.
And despite the traumatizing event, Schultz says he’s ready to get back up in the air.
“It’s not going to stop me from flying,” he said.