A Coupeville ophthalmologist is recovering at Harborview Medical Center in Seattle after surviving a plane crash Sunday in Olympic National Park.
Agencies involved with the rescue and investigation of the crash are not releasing the names of the victims, but Ria Claassen, office manager for Whidbey Eye Center, confirmed Thursday that Dr. Michael Mequio had been involved in a plane crash. She declined to comment further.
A spokesperson for Harborview reported that Mequio was in satisfactory stable condition and out of the intensive care unit.
Mequio and one other unidentified person reportedly crashed a Cirrus SR-22 into the side of Mount Jupiter inside the national park. The plane took off from Everett.
Just before 4 p.m. Sunday, the Department of Transportation received an emergency signal, the Peninsula Daily News reported. Around the same time, another aircraft reported to air traffic controllers in Seattle that they had heard a mayday call from a small aircraft over the radio.
A Search and Rescue crew from Naval Air Station Whidbey Island responded and located the wreckage in a snowy valley at 5,700 feet.
Crews noted the plane’s parachute hadn’t deployed and opted to approach from a further distance in case it inadvertently deployed, the Navy reported.
Medical technicians from Search and Rescue, along with the Helicopter Inland Rescue Aircrewman, rappelled down to the survivors where they were assessed, treated and prepared for transport.
Both Mequio and the other person were airlifted to Harborview.
The Federal Aviation Administration is investigating the crash, but according to Ian Gregor, a public information officer for the FAA, it might take months for an investigation to conclude the cause.
ABC News reported the National Transportation Safety Board is also investigating the crash and that the survivors were a student and instructor.
Whidbey Eye Center’s website describes Mequio as an active outdoorsman and humanitarian who has travelled oversees to provide ophthalmology services in the Philippines, Thailand and Zambia.