A Search and Rescue team has found the wreckage of a
small airplane bound for Vancouver in Oregon. The plane crashed on Mount
Tom, about nine miles|
east of the Linn County community of Harrisburg, Ore. (Linn County (Ore.) Sherrif's Office)
April 24, 2015 - OREGON, UNITED STATES - Searchers looking for a missing Vancouver plane found wreckage and a body Friday afternoon on a mountain in Linn County, Ore.
An Oregon Army National Guard helicopter was sent out Friday morning to help search for Vancouver pilot Lee Cheshire Leslie, 41, and his Piper PA-28. Around 1 p.m. searchers spotted a crashed airplane on Mount Tom, a heavily forested area where they had concentrated the search, the Oregon Civil Air Patrol said.
The Federal Aviation Administration had tracked the plane’s flight path to a point where the plane went off radar in the Mount Tom area, which is about 9 miles east of Harrisburg, Ore., the Civil Air Patrol said.
Searchers with the Linn County Sheriff’s Office went out to the crash site and found a body among the wreckage. The body and the plane haven’t been positively identified yet, the sheriff’s office said.
“Everything indicates that this was more than likely the plane that was missing, but we can’t confirm that at this point,” Sheriff Bruce Riley said. Plane crashes are not uncommon in Linn County, which is mountainous in some areas and has several small airports and airstrips.
The Linn County Medical Examiner’s Office will identify the body and determine cause of death.
Around 4:30 p.m. Tuesday, Leslie took off from Hobby Field in Creswell, Ore., about 120 miles from Vancouver’s Pearson Field. After the plane was reported overdue Tuesday night, managers of airports along the plane’s flight path were called and asked to do a ramp search to look for the tail number of the plane in question, said Civil Air Patrol Vice Commander Ted Tanory.
The Lane County Sheriff’s Office filed a missing person report and began working with the Civil Air Patrol to find the pilot and his plane. Pilots flew over the area, looking for damaged or burned foliage that might indicate where a plane had crashed.
Upon finding the downed plane, the Civil Air Patrol stopped looking for Leslie and his plane.
The Federal Aviation Administration is investigating what caused the crash.
Leslie is believed to be the only person who was onboard the silver and red aircraft that was bound for Pearson Field. The pilot didn’t file a flight plan, the FAA said, nor was he required to do so.
Willy Williamson, manager of Pearson Field, said Leslie never made contact with him, anyone else at the airport or Aero Maintenance, which runs a flight school at the airport. He met Leslie a few months ago and said Leslie was relatively new to the airport.
Leslie’s Piper PA-28 is one of the most common private planes in the world, designed to be safe and easy to fly, Williamson said. - Columbian.