Two people swam to safety Sunday after downing their single-engine plane in the Columbia River near the Cascade Locks marina.
At approximately 11:45 a.m., the Hood River County Sheriff’s Office received a 911 call that the plane had gone into the water.
The plane remains submerged and is marked by a buoy near the marina channel entrance, according to Pete Hughes of the Sheriff’s Office.
Pilot Steven Cox, 43, and passenger Annaleise Weber, 35, both of Bellevue, Wash., made it to shore on their own, and were transported to Mt. Hood Medical Center in Gresham. Hughes said Cox suffered a broken wrist and Weber had “exposure-related” symptoms.
Both their phones were in the plane and Hughes said he has an email contact for Cox, but at press time had not yet interviewed Cox or Weber.
What is known is the pair were sightseeing over Cascade Locks when the plane lost power, and Cox “elected to put it into water, just east of the entrance to the marina, according to Hughes. The plane was heading west when it went down. Conditions were overcast and flat calm river water," Hughes said.
The plane hit the water at a low trajectory and reportedly “skipped like a rock,” Hughes said.
“Some people thought they were trying to land at Cascade Locks airfield but that’s not accurate,” Hughes said. “They had flown over it west bound, but when they came back over, they had lost power, and couldn’t get back to the airport. They had apparently turned east and then west again,” Hughes said.
Hughes said the plane will remain in the water until Cox’s insurance company can develop a plan for its recovery; he did not know how long that would take.
Hughes said boats responded from Columbia River Intertribal Fisheries Enforcement and Army Corps of Engineers.
In addition to the buoy, booms were put out Sunday in case of fuel leakage, he said.