Neighbors react to deadly plane crash in Millersburg

Shanks said suddenly the aircraft started to get low, and immediately it did a left turn and “smacked” into the ground.

Posted: Jul 10, 2021 8:08 PM
Updated: Jul 10, 2021 8:39 PM

MILLERSBURG, Ore.—Witnesses react to what they heard and saw on Friday after an ultralight aircraft crashed into a field behind Deciduous Avenue in Millersburg.


Neighbor Gerald Shanks was in the backyard with his dog when he heard the ultralight coming.

“I looked up, and it was going northbound, and all of a sudden, it started turning to the west,” Shanks said. “I saw it come right down our yards, on our street.”

Shanks said suddenly the aircraft started to get low, and immediately it did a left turn and “smacked” into the ground.

“There was a big boom, and a lot of dirt flew up,” Shanks said. “That was it,”

According to the National Transportation Safety Board, the aircraft was built by the 57-year-old pilot, Charles Kizer.

Officials say Kizer built the two-seater back in 2019. According to neighbors, he was a very experienced flyer.

Neighbors told KEZI that Kizer would fly over the area all the time. They said kids enjoyed waving to him as they watch his aircraft go by.

49-year-old Matthew Irish, the passenger in Kizer’s plane, also died.

The plane took off in Albany last night around 8:40 P.M. Officials said it flew towards Irish’s house and then crashed into the field.

Kizer and Irish were both pronounced dead at the scene.

A preliminary report can be found on NTSB's website in about 10 business days.

Officials said the next steps are to review witness videos, look at weather reports and aircraft history. It may take 18 months before the full report is completed.

The Federal Aviation Agency said in a statement to KEZI that they will "release the aircraft tail number once investigators verify it at the scene."

The NTSB will be in change of the investigation and all updates. 

Neighbors said Kizer and Irish were well-known community members and will be deeply missed.

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