Aircraft Emergency - 8425 Windsor Island Rd NFriday, September 10, 1999
The Keizer Fire District responded to the report of an aircraft emergency on Friday afternoon. The Willamette Valley Communication Center received information that an aircraft was down at Windsor Island Rd. and Naples Ave. in North Keizer. Further information said the plane had crashed in the Willamette River. The crash site was eventually determined to be adjacent to 8425 Windsor Island.
First arriving units had to walk about two hundred yards in to the crash site. Upon arrival rescuers observed a small private plane upside down in the middle of the river. The plane was submerged except for the wheel struts and a small portion of the bottom of the plane. One subject was observed sitting on the plane. It was determined a second victim of the cash had swam ashore and summoned help.
A private boat in the are picked up the crash victim still on the plane and brought him shore.
The pilot of the experimental aircraft was identified as Frank Blanchard, 59, of Salem. His passenger was identified as Greg Lambert, 40, of Turner. Blanchard received minor cuts and abrasions. Lambert was uninjured in the incident. Blanchard was treated at the scene and did not require transport to a hospital.
Blanchard said the plane was built in the sixties and he had purchases it about a month and a half ago. He said they had replaced the engine and were flying from Aurora when the plane engine died. They were attempting to execute a crash landing when they hit the river and the plane flipped. The plane was an amphibious plane, but according to Lambert, it bounced twice and flipped.
An estimated seven to ten gallons of gasoline was on the plane at the time of the crash. Salem Pollution Control was on the scene to contain any leakage from the plane.