1 dead, 1 injured in small passenger plane crash on Whidbey Island
WHIDBEY ISLAND, Wash. – A small passenger plane went down just off the Porter Field runway near Langley Saturday morning, according to South Whidbey Fire.
The Island County Sheriff Department has identified the pilot as Marc Drake, 63 of Everett.
Locals reported the sound of the crash at 11:16 a.m. Saturday. Crews responded to the scene, finding the plane off the runway in a wooded area.
South Whidbey Fire confirms that the pilot of the plane died in the crash and the woman was airlifted to Harborview Medical Center in critical condition.
The plane was coming down for a landing when it crashed, according to Jon Gabelein with South Whidbey Fire.
Paul Tschetter was working on his property when ambulances pulled up onto his property.
He went with first responders to go look for the wreckage and help.
First responders said in the 10-foot high brush, they had to use chainsaws and followed the strong smell of aircraft fuel to find the crashed plane.
Tschetter said it took them about 20 minutes to find the wreckage.
“It looked like from the pattern and the trees that they just went straight into the ground,” said Paul Tschetter. “It was really mangled and kind of surprised that somebody could have survived it.”
Tschetter said pilots around the area have voiced concern about the airstrip being small
“This gentlemen was landing, he's been here a bunch and is an experienced pilot,” said Tschetter. “And so perfect conditions. All the pilots I talked to today were just dumbfound that something like this would happen on a day like today.”
The FAA issued a 'no fly zone' order within a five-mile radius of the area, Gabelein said.
This remains an ongoing investigation.