Crashed Cessna 172 on the beach nearly two years ago
The case of Newport Mayor Dean Sawyer’s plane crash back in 2019 appears closed according the the Federal Aviation Administration. Mayor Sawyer told FAA authorities that he and two passengers in his Cessna 172 were returning to Newport after several fly-overs of whales off Depoe Bay and Yaquina Head. But when they turned around and headed back toward Newport Airport something terrible happened. According to the FAA, the airplane’s engine started acting up, forcing Mayor Sawyer to look for any place for an emergency landing. And that spot was on the beach north of the Newport jetties.
The landing was quite rough with heavy damage to the airplane. Mayor Sawyer’s right seat passenger was badly hurt on the bouncy landing but her 7 year old son got through it okay as did Mayor Sawyer.
The boy’s mother suffered serious injuries but lived to tell the tale.
A Federal Aviation Administration report found that Mayor Sawyer’s aircraft was “technically” not airworthy, with or without passengers. The FAA indicated there had been no biennial flight review for a number years and that Mayor Sawyer was flying without a required medical certificate for eight years according to the FAA’s report. There were also reports that Mayor Sawyer’s plane had run out of gas north of Newport but Mayor Sawyer told officials that he had left Newport with his passengers aboard with two tanks of gas – both half full which should have been enough for the whale watching flight. Mayor Sawyer said if his plane had run out of gas he would not have smelled airplane gas after the crash landing.
Reports say that the lady passenger spent some time in the hospital with a badly injured upper arm. Reports say that a financial settlement was reached months after the crash.
According to the Federal Aviation Administration Mayor Sawyer has lost his pilot’s license for a number of months but that the FAA said he will get it back sometime in the Fall.