Missing plane found near Queets, pilot believed dead on impact
Apr 11, 2023, 7:41 AM | Updated: 9:29 am
(Photo from WSDOT)
A missing plane crashed March 6 after falling off of the radar 45 minutes outside Tacoma Narrows Airport. Now, a Washington State Department of Transportation (WSDOT) Air Search and Rescue crew has found the aircraft in a wooded forest near Queets.
The missing Cessna T182 Turbo Skylane piloted by Rod Collen was found Monday, April 10, 36 days after his disappearance.
Officials suspend seach for missing plane crashed near Queets
Collen left the Tacoma Narrows Airport at 5:35 p.m. March 6, and a few minutes into the flight, the plane’s Automatic Dependent Surveillance-Broadcast (ADS-B) system was either turned off or malfunctioned, and the plane was no longer visible on normal tracking systems the air traffic controllers use.
After searching the 36-square mile section of forest for two weeks, WSDOT originally suspended the search for the pilot March 20, but on Friday, April 7, crews returned to the area using a new hypothesis.
The warming weather and melting snow allowed the crew to see some debris from the crash, giving them a location to hike out to, where they found the wreckage in “densely wooded terrain, difficult to spot and not easily accessible.”
Collen was found inside the plane, likely having died on impact in the crash.
The case has been turned over to the Grays Harbor County Sheriff’s Office. The crash is also being investigated by the National Transportation Safety Board, which will have its findings on the cause of the crash in 12-18 months.
“This is not the outcome searchers and the many partners had hoped for, and our thoughts are with both the family and everyone who worked to try and locate the aircraft. We know this is a tragic outcome for the family and community, and our thoughts are with them during this time,” WSDOT said in their final update on the search. “WSDOT would like to thank everyone who has supported the family throughout this search.”