The 304th Rescue Squadron sent three Para-Rescue Rescue Specialists here to help civilian agencies locate a downed plane Nov. 18 near Mount Hood, Oregon.
Just after 6 a.m. on November 16, the Clackamas County Sheriff’s Office was made aware of a small plane that may have crashed in a remote area of ââMount Hood National Forest, County of Clackamas.
The Cessna 150 departed Salem, Oregon, that morning. The planned route was to stop in Troutdale, Oregon, before continuing to Idaho and then Utah. The pilot reported having problems due to bad weather and reported that ice was starting to form on the aircraft. The pilot expressed his intention to change destination. Air traffic controllers lost contact with the aircraft a few minutes later.
Search and Rescue Coordinators (SAR) from the Clackamas County Sheriff’s Office have launched a mission to locate and respond to the alleged scene of the crash, bringing in numerous local, state and federal search agencies.
The downed plane reportedly crashed in Fish Creek Basin, about seven miles from the nearest access point. This is considered to be one of the harder to reach wilderness areas and the damage from forest fires has made the area even more dangerous and difficult to navigate. The challenges include an elevation gain of nearly 7,000 feet, landslides and rocks, fallen trees, and the lack of a network of navigable trails. The search team was unable to reach the suspected location on November 17 due to these adverse conditions.
On Wednesday morning, civilian search and rescue personnel attempted to locate a better access point using 4×4 vehicles, but were unsuccessful.
A request was received by 304 RQS for its expertise in retrieving personnel in difficult terrain. Three PCs and two Navy search and rescue medics left Portland in a US Navy MH-60 helicopter for the search location. Research is ongoing at the time of this press release.
The 304 RQS trains, equips and deploys combat rescue officers, rescue specialists and support personnel around the world in the interest of the national security of the United States. The 304 RQS is part of the 943rd Rescue Group located at Davis-Monthan Air Force Base, Ariz., And is a geographically separate unit from the 920 Rescue Wing at Patrick Air Force Base, Florida.