On Friday, April 7th, a small plane crash occurred at the Ashland Airport at approximately 4:52 p.m.
Ashland Fire Department Division Chief Chris Chambers said that during a landing exercise, a trainee pilot who owned the aircraft and his instructor lost control of the plane. According to Chambers, the two were attempting “some kind of maneuver,” and the plane veered left off the south side of the runway, eventually coming to a stop nose down in Neil Creek. Chambers said that because the crash “occurred at a very direct angle,” the pair escaped unharmed. “When crews arrived the two members on the plane crawled out before the fire got big and had no visible bodily injuries,” Chambers said. “They refused any medical services.” The plane started a small fire that spread to a nearby tree and was put out by the Ashland Fire Department by 5:06 p.m.
While no known environmental damage was done to the creek, the Oregon Office of Emergency Management was notified to look into hazardous clean-up of plane material and non-hazardous firefighter foam. “The plane is in the creek causing some concerns about environmental contamination. It’s not a large plane, but of course, gas and other fluids could still leak into Neil Creek,” Chambers said. Chambers said that due to the position of the plane, it was impossible to stop fuel from leaking into the creek.
The owners of the plane, the Blum Family Dynasty, are responsible for paying for any clean-up. The Federal Aviation Administration and National Transportation Safety Board were also notified to investigate the crash. The plane, an experimental turbine-engine model, must remain in the exact location until investigators can get an in-person look at it. The plane will then be moved and its salvageable parts will be collected from the crash site for investigation. The plane could carry up to six passengers. Chambers highlighted how no parties were injured in the crash, which might have had a different outcome if the incident had occurred during the summer, when fires are more likely to spread. “You never want to see things like that happen, but all things considered, the outcome was much less tragic than it could have been,” Chambers said.