A single-engine aircraft, flown by the mayor of Newport, with two passengers with him, crashed-landed on the beach just north of the North Jetty Monday afternoon after a quick trip to Depoe Bay to do some whale watching.
On their way back to the Newport Airport, Mayor Sawyer’s Cessna 172M Skyhawk began sputtering – its engine oscillating back and forth between fast and slow. They barely made it back to the Newport area when suddenly the plane lost power for good. Mayor Sawyer looked down and saw the beach was full of people, so he kept the plane aloft for as long as he could. But suddenly it lost all power and down they went. Just north of the North Jetty, Sawyer guided the plane down for a crash landing. Mayor Sawyer spotted a stretch of beach that was nearly empty He leveled out with his plane’s nose high then belly-flopped onto the dunes. All three aboard survived the ordeal with various injuries. One passenger very severely. The plane sustained major damage.
Mayor Sawyer posted on Facebook:
“So most of you may by now that I was involved this afternoon in a plane crash on the beach. All three of us got out and I am home resting with torn cartilage in my chest, I will be sore for some time. Please pray for my passenger, Debbie who sustained serious injuries and is in the hospital. Thank you all for you kind comments.”
“We were whale watching in Depoe Bay and headed back when I had engine trouble. My Cessna had been a great companion for many years. I would like to thank all the great emergency responders and a special shout out to Deputies Bruce Shelley and Bruce McGuire who were first on scene and gave great care to my passengers.”
Mayor Sawyer said his plane probably developed a carburetor problem that came out of nowhere.