Hospital upgrades condition of man accused of crashing stolen plane

Changed from critical to serious condition

PORT TOWNSEND — The medical status of former Port Townsend resident Richard Rasmussen Jordal, who allegedly stole a private plane in Jefferson County on Aug. 18 and crashed it near Forks, has been upgraded from critical to serious condition, a Harborview Medical Center spokeswoman said.

Jordal, 59, of Richland, was on a ventilator as of Monday and was under a do-not-resuscitate order, his brother, Jake Jordal, said Monday in an email to the Jefferson County Sheriff’s Office. Harborview spokesperson Susan Gregg said Wednesday that patients can be in serious condition and be breathing with the aid of a ventilator. A ventilator requires sedation.

The Jefferson County Sheriff’s Office said that Jordal allegedly stole a single-engine Cessna 150 two-seater from Jefferson County International Airport the evening of Aug. 18 before crashing it in Olympic National Park 1 mile south of Quillayute Airport.

He was airlifted the following morning to the Seattle hospital after a Navy helicopter spotted the wreckage in heavily wooded terrain in Olympic National Park. Jordal was unconscious as of Aug. 20, said Detective Sgt. Brett Anglin.

Jake Jordal emailed Anglin at 9 p.m. Monday.

“Richard is not improving,” he told Anglin. “He is still on a ventilator. The doctor told us today that ‘it is not probable he will be independent but it is possible.’”

“He now has a DNR [do-not-resuscitate order],” Jordal said in the email. “In a week it will probably move to DNI [do not intubate].”

Jake Jordal did not return an email request for comment Wednesday.

Anglin said Wednesday the sheriff’s office has forwarded a recommendation to the prosecuting attorney’s office that first-degree theft and second-degree burglary charges be filed against Jordal.

Prosecuting Attorney James Kennedy said Wednesday the report will be reviewed by the end of this week and that he will make a charging decision within days.

“We do not expect to see Mr. Jordal in court anytime soon,” Kennedy said.

“Assuming the report has the information we need to support a filing of charges, we would probably go ahead and do that.”

The crash was being investigated by the FBI, which has cleared the crash site, Anglin said. The agency does not comment on pending investigations.

Kennedy said it does not appear that the federal government will pursue the case.

“It sounds like the ball is in my court,” he said.

Emily Langlie, spokeswoman for the U.S. Attorney’s Office, said Wednesday in an email that she understands that the investigation is ongoing.

“Until that is complete, there would not be any decision on whether federal charges are appropriate,” she said.

Jordal had moored his sailboat at the Port of Port Townsend’s Boat Haven until he was banned from port property in 2017 for “nuisance” behavior and failing to safely navigate the harbor, according to port records. The airport is operated by the port.

Jordal had taken flight lessons from Sundance Aviation at Richland Airport. Anglin said after the Cessna was stolen, its global positioning system had been shut down as it neared Hoquiam and before it crashed.

“I doubt [Jordal] had a flight plan,” Anglin said.

Jordal has pending burglary and harassment charges in Franklin County and pending harassment charges in Yakima County, Yakima District Court and Pasco Municipal Court, authorities said.

“Where this goes from here is dependent on the health of Mr. Jordal,” Anglin said. “His health is the primary concern at this point.”

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Senior Staff Writer Paul Gottlieb can be reached at 360-452-2345, ext. 55650, or at [email protected].

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