Pair survives small plane crash near Oak Harbor airport

The wreckage of a plane crash in a madrona tree near the Oak Harbor airport is inspected by emergency responders Monday.

Two people are in the hospital with non-life-threatening injuries after a skydiving plane crashed near the Oak Harbor airport Monday night, according to the Island County Sheriff’s Office.

The Cessna 182, which was out of Monroe, apparently lost power on approach to Eisenberg Airport, which is just south of Oak Harbor, and crashed into trees in the backyard of a Windermere Lane home.

Lt. Mike Hawley said a pilot took a group of skydivers from Monroe in a Cessna 182 to jump over Whidbey Island. One of the passengers decided not to jump.

Margaret Galbraith said she and her husband, Dwight, were home when the place crashed in their backyard at about 8:15 p.m. She said they didn’t hear anything until they heard the crash, which she described as a distinctive sound of wood on metal.

Neighbors, firefighters and ambulance crews rushed to the scene.

“It was very unusual to have a plane in a tree upside down,” she said.

Hawley said the plane was headed in from over the water and struck the trees about 20 feet from the ground, then spun about 180 degree before hitting the ground.

“It appeared they were trying to make an emergency landing in the field when they crashed,” Hawley said.

The pilot and the passenger were both ejected, according to Galbraith. She said both men were on the ground when she got to them and seemed to be in shock.

“It was pretty frightening,” she said.

Robert Sweeton lives in the neighborhood and saw the aircraft from a distance. He said it looked “pretty low in the sky” and followed it to where it crashed.

Hawley said both men are from the Seattle area. He said the pilot suffered a broken collar bone, but he’s not sure about the passenger’s injuries. Both men were released from the hospital late Monday, he said.

The Federal Aviation Administration and the National Transportation Safety Board will investigate the crash, he added.