63-year-old was Sunriver man, as was his passenger
By: Max Goldwasser
SUNRIVER, Ore. – (Update: DCSO identifies pilot, passenger; hospital says passenger being released)
The Deschutes County Sheriff’s Office on Sunday identified a 63-year-old Sunriver pilot who died Saturday when his amphibious float plane crashed into the Deschutes River shortly after takeoff and overturned. His passenger, a 69-year-old Sunriver man, was able to escape the aircraft.
The pilot of the 1997 Maul M-7 single-engine seaplane was identified as Kevin Padrick, while the passenger was Johannes Noordwijk, said sheriff’s Sgt. Nathan Garibay, the county’s emergency services manager.
Noordwijk was able to escape the aircraft after the crash and later was helped to shore by Sunriver Fire Dept. crew members, along with four people who swam to the overturned plane to assist its occupants, Garibay said.
He was taken to St. Charles Bend with what Garibay said were non-life-threatening injuries. A house supervisor at the Bend hospital said Noordwijk was admitted overnight for observation but was in good condition and was being released Sunday.
Padrick’s body was found in the plane by sheriff’s Search and Rescue divers.
Anyone who witnessed the crash or has video was asked to contact the sheriff’s office at the non-emergency dispatch number, 541-693-6911.
The crash and cause of death are still being investigated by multiple agencies, Garibay said.
Online FAA records indicate the plane was owned by K2 Enterprises LLC of Sunriver
The crash was reported around 10:40 a.m.
“We know there is one fatality and one survivor,” Sunriver Fire Department Public Information Officer Jim Bennett told NewsChannel 21’s Max Goldwasser at the scene.
Federal Aviation Administration regional Public Affairs Manager Ian Gregor provided initial information on what happened.
“After takeoff from Sunriver Airport, the pilot attempted to land on the Deschutes River for unknown reasons,” he said. “The plane nosed her and sank after the pilot landed” in the water.
Gregor identified the plane as a Maule M-7-235B.
Bennett said the plane went into the river about 100 yards upstream of where it came to rest. When fire crews and Deschutes County sheriff’s deputies arrived on the scene, “several individuals were atop the (overturned) plane attempting to assist,” including the passenger.
Sheriff’s Search and Rescue units were on scene, along with the Bend Fire Department and Oregon State Police, including a dive team and swift-water team.
Padrick’s body was removed from the water shortly before 2 p.m.
The Sunriver Fire Department, first on scene, came to the aid of five people who were atop the aircraft fuselage as it floated upside down, including the passenger who had been able to get out of the plane, according to Garibay. The others swam to the plane to try to help, but initial efforts to rescue Padrick were unsuccessful.
Garibay said the initial investigation found that the float plane, as they also are known, “flipped upside down upon contact with the water.”
Bennett said the crash is especially unusual because planes typically don’t land on the river, under any circumstance.
“Obviously there’s obstructions in the river, it’s relatively narrow,” Bennett said. “There’s a current. It’s a twisty river as well.”
The FAA and National Transportation Safety Board will investigate the incident, Gregor said, with the NTSB the lead agency. He noted it usually takes a year or more to determine a probable cause.