Only the pilot was killed in a plane crash near the Madras Municipal Airport on Saturday — no passenger was on board.
The Jefferson County Sheriff’s Office originally reported two people were aboard the single-engine, homebuilt Wheeler Express that crashed into Willow Creek Canyon and that neither survived the crash. But Jefferson County Sheriff Jim Adkins and his office contacted the owners of the plane Saturday night, and “now are certain only one person was on board,” according to a news release from the sheriff’s office.
The aircraft was destroyed and engulfed by fire after the crash Saturday. Statements from family and friends in addition to further investigation on scene show the pilot was alone in the crash.
The confusion stemmed from a reservation tied to the plane, Adkins said in the release. Because there was a reservation for two people to stay in the area, the sheriff’s office assumed two people were aboard.
“After talking to a family member who had originally planned to make the trip, but changed plans, we can confirm there was just one person on the flight,” Adkins said in the release.
The plane crashed at about 1:50 p.m. as it was making its final approach to the airport, according to officials. A San Francisco news station reported the pilot, a man from Menlo Park, California, left San Carlos Airport at about 11 a.m. for Madras. Officials have not released the pilot’s name.
The Madras airport was busy Saturday with hundreds of planes arriving for Monday’s total solar eclipse.
The FAA and National Transportation Safety Board are investigating the crash.