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Plane plunges into river, killing pilot

Thu., Sept. 22, 2005

A man was killed Wednesday evening when the plane he was flying hit a power line and plunged into the Pend Oreille River near Ione, Wash.

The four-seat Cessna manufactured in 1949 hit the power line about 5 p.m. and sunk to the bottom, according to a Pend Oreille County Sheriff’s dispatcher.

The crash site was about a mile north of the Box Canyon Dam, said Dick Zimmerman, a dispatcher for Pend Oreille Public Utility District.

The pilot and owner of the plane, 57-year-old Hans C. Henrickson of Oakesdale, Wash., was the only person aboard, according to the Sheriff’s Office.

His body was recovered and the plane was pulled from the water Wednesday night.

Zimmerman was napping at the Box Canyon Motel, which he owns with his wife, when he heard a noise he compared to “someone dragging an aluminum boat down the sidewalk.”

“It was just a great big screeching noise,” he said. “It brought me right out of my chair.”

By the time he was able to look at the river, only a small portion of the plane was above water. Zimmerman thought it was a sinking boat until he grabbed a pair of binoculars for a closer look.

“Within a minute it was gone,” he said.

He called 911 and nearby residents quickly took boats to the scene, Zimmerman said. The plane was submerged in about 10 feet of water.

Gary Mayer, FAA regional operations officer in Seattle, said it is unclear where the flight originated or where the pilot was heading.

An Federal Aviation Administration official will head to the scene today to investigate.

The line hit by the plane was not a main line from the dam.

About three homes on the east side of the river lost power after the plane struck the line, Zimmerman said.


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