Author Topic: Pilot survives Columbia River crash landing near Troutdale  (Read 4880 times)

Offline KB4TEZ

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Pilot survives Columbia River crash landing near Troutdale
« on: June 25, 2024, 05:55:18 AM »

PORTLAND, Oregon — A small single-engine plane experienced an emergency landing in the Columbia River near Troutdale on Monday afternoon, and the pilot miraculously walked away unharmed.

The Port of Portland said the plane was heading to Troutdale Airport around 3:15 p.m. when it needed to do an emergency landing in the Columbia River, roughly two miles east of Troutdale.   The pilot, 73-year-old Rick Boettcher, was the only person on board. As he went to make his landing, Boettcher said his engine quit.

"I didn't have enough altitude to make it to the runway," Boettcher said. "So, I had to plan my landing cause when your engine quits, you have to land."

He said the only possible spot to land was the water, if he didn't want to end up in the high voltage powerlines near the airport.

"So, I just slowed up as much as I could and hit the water," he added. "I abruptly stopped. I was belted in and immediately opened the door, unbelted and swam out of the airplane."  Boettcher crashed his small Mooney M20K 231 airplane in about six feet of water and then swam around 100 feet to Gary Island Park, where he was rescued by firefighters in a small boat.

"I don't know if it's a miracle or just good piloting techniques," Boettcher said. "I don't know what but I did the right thing."

Boettcher said he's been flying for 25 years and this is the first time he's lost an engine — admittedly in a bad spot, he added.

"When you're low to the ground, you don't have many options," he said. "You have seconds really to figure out what to do. I tried to restart the engine and it wouldn't restart, tried to switch tanks ... "

After firefighters reached Boettcher by boat just after 4 p.m., he was taken to Chinook Landing to receive a medical evaluation as a precaution, the Multnomah County Sheriff’s Office said. Boettcher said he doesn't have any injuries and is now hoping to put this incident in the past.

"I feel like I want to go home and go to bed and forget about it all," he said with a slight laugh.