Two children confirmed dead, a third missing in deadly plane crash
Aug 4, 2008 at 1:46 PM PDT
By Adam Ghassemi and KATU Web Staff GEARHART, Ore. - Authorities have recovered the bodies of two children and were searching for a third child after a single-engine plane hit a tree and crashed into a vacation rental home in the coastal town of Gearhart Monday morning.
City officials confirmed a pilot and passenger were in the Cessna 172 and were presumed dead, though their bodies had not been recovered from the plane.
A mother and two children rescued by firefighters from the burning home were taken via helicopter to Legacy Emanuel Hospital following the crash. Their conditions were not known.
"This is the biggest thing to have ever hit Gearhart," said City Administrator Dennis McNally during an afternoon press conference. "Such a tragedy. Everybody is devastated."
He declined to release the identities of anyone involved.
A mother and five children were in the rental home at 398 N. Marion St. when the plane reportedly struck a tree and then hit the home just after 6:30 a.m., McNally said. Two other adults staying at the home had gone for a walk when the crash occurred, he said, and they returned to find the home engulfed in flames.
Witnesses said they heard an explosion about 20 seconds after the crash. The fire partially destroyed a neighboring home that was vacant, McNally said.
The Cessna, which is owned by Aviation Adventure in Seaside, was rented to the pilot and reportedly took off from Seaside Airport south of Gearhart prior to the crash, McNally said. It was not clear where the plane was headed. Conditions Monday morning were described as foggy.
Witnesses said it appeared the plane was having difficulties flying prior to the crash.
Officials with the Federal Aviation Administration were on the scene Monday investigating the wreck.
Gearhart has a population of about 1,100 and is located on the northern Oregon coast between Seaside and Astoria
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