OLYMPIC NATIONAL PARK — The Federal Aviation Administration and National Transportation Safety Board are investigating a plane that crashed into the side of Klahhane Ridge in the Olympic Mountains on Wednesday, officials said Thursday.
A search and rescue team from Naval Air Station Whidbey Island hoisted the pilot of a Cessna 172 N to safety at about 9 a.m. after the pilot climbed to the top of the ridge about 8 miles south of Port Angeles, said Navy spokesperson Thomas Mills.
He said he was not able to disclose the pilot’s condition, but said the pilot was able to climb about 175 yards above the wreckage to the top of the snow-covered ridge to be rescued.
The owner of the plane according to FAA records is Jeffrey Well — who owns Rite Bros. He said Thursday night that he was not the pilot.
Authorities did not identify the pilot on Thursday.
A woman at Rite Bros said she was unable to comment on the situation.
The Navy was notified of the plane crash shortly after 8:15 a.m. Wednesday. The Navy team of five contacted the pilot on his cell phone and were able to find his exact location, Mills said.
Mills was unsure of the origin of the flight.
The plane “crashed under unknown circumstances on the rocky side of the mountain,” he said FAA spokesperson Allen Kenitzer in an email. “Authorities said that only the pilot was on board.”
He said he had no additional information.
Olympic National Park spokeswoman Penny Wagner said salvage preparations are underway and asked that the public avoid the area.
“It is a really steep and snow-covered slope and we ask that the public does not approach that crash site within 50 yards,” she said.
She said that because there is an active National Transportation Safety Board investigation she had no information other than what the Navy had provided.
Reporter Jesse Major can be reached at 360-452-2345, ext. 56250, or at [email protected].