Four dead in Oregon plane crash www.privateofficer.com
VENETA OR June 25 2012— Four people died Saturday after a Cessna 172 crashed in a wooded area south of Suttle Road after taking off from a private airstrip just west of the Oregon Country Fair property, according to the Lane County Sheriff’s Office.
The names of the deceased were not available Saturday. Sheriff’s office officials said the names would not be released until next of kin were notified. Officials with the National Transportation Safety Board were en route from Portland to investigate, sheriff’s spokeswoman Carrie Carver said.
The plane took off about 3:10 p.m. Saturday, southbound from a private airstrip at 24003 Suttle Road that, according to nearby residents and online Lane County records, is owned by Conrad Magnuson.
Approached about what happened, Magnuson, surrounded by a group of people in his driveway, yelled obscenities and told members of the media to get off his property.
“It’s going to take heavy tools to get them out of there,” Lane County District No. 1 Fire Chief Terry Ney said of the victims. The small plane “for whatever reason didn’t clear the woods,” Ney said.
All four occupants of the aircraft were pronounced dead at the scene by Lane Rural Fire, according to Carver. The sheriff’s office was assisting the NTSB with scene security and removal of the bodies, she said.
Magnuson’s airstrip, known as Crow-Mag Airport, according to county records, is on the north side of Suttle Road. The plane crashed on the south side of Suttle Road, just east of Ridiculous Road, on private property just east of John and Debbie Parker’s home.
A half dozen Lane County emergency vehicles could be seen parked near the crash site.
Debbie Parker said she had just gotten home Saturday afternoon and was unloading groceries when she heard the plane overhead.
“Didn’t sound real strong,” Parker said, sitting on her deck. “And then I heard it crash.”
She said she and her husband have lived there for 26 years and listened to planes take off and land. But they had never heard one crash, she said. They aren’t really bothered by the airstrip, “but it gets so loud sometimes you can’t hear yourself talk. We just live with it,” Parker said.
Some people associated with the nearby Oregon Country Fair property came by Saturday and thought the crash victims might be associated with the fair, Debbie Parker said.
A November 1991 Register-Guard story about Magnuson’s efforts to expand his small airport told of residents’ opposition. Residents said at the time that expansion would increase noise and create a higher risk of crash.
A manager of what was then the state Aeronautics Division said more planes would not increase safety risk. The story said the grass airstrip at Crow-Mag Airport was 3,100 feet long and 50 feet wide and built by the previous owner in 1969.
A Lane County hearings official ruled in October 1991 that Magnuson’s investment of money and labor in his airstrip since 1976 was sufficient to allow him to finish the project, according to the story.
Some neighbors quoted in the story complained of low-flying planes spooking their horses, but other neighbors said they had no problem with the airstrip.
However, one resident was quoted as saying: “If it grows to more airplanes like they want, I just feel there will be an accident.”
It’s unclear whether the number of planes at the airport was ever increased.