PORT TOWNSEND — Richard Rasmussen Jordal, the Richland man who allegedly stole a private airplane at Jefferson County International Airport on Aug. 18 and crashed it in Olympic National Park, died this morning at Harborview Medical Center in Seattle.
Jefferson County Undersheriff Andy Pernsteiner said Brian Applegate of the King County Medical Examiner’s Office notified him that Jordal, 59, died at 6:01 a.m.
Harborview spokesperson Susan Gregg confirmed the death Thursday.
The former Port Townsend resident was on a ventilator and under a do-not-resuscitate order at the hospital.
The flight student allegedly piloted the Cessna 150 single-engine two-seater from Jefferson County International Airport to 1 mile south of Quillayute Airport in the La Push area where it crashed.
A Navy helicopter crew found Jordal the following morning in the wreckage of the $30,000 aircraft in heavily wooded terrain.
Jordal was airlifted to Harborview and was unconscious as of Aug. 20.
His condition had been upgraded from critical to serious as of Wednesday.
Jefferson County Prosecuting Attorney James Kennedy was on the verge of filing felony theft charges against Jordal, once he recovered. The Jefferson County Sheriff’s Office had completed its investigation and forwarded recommendations of first-degree theft and second-degree burglary charges.
Pernsteiner said the Federal Aviation Administration is likely investigating the crash.
Jordal was identified as the person stealing the plane in a surveillance video reviewed by a man with whom Jordal had contact with at the airport a few hours before the plane was stolen.
Jordal was the main suspect, Pernsteiner said.
“It looked like it was just him involved,” he said.
“Now that he’s deceased, the case is pretty much closed.”
Sheriff’s Office Detective Sgt. Brett Anglin said in an earlier interview that Jordal has a student pilot’s license and had told a witness he wanted to go to Astoria, Ore., which did not match the Cessna’s flight path before it crashed.
The incident was being investigated by the FBI, which does not comment on pending investigations.
Jordal had criminal charges pending against him in four Eastern Washington jurisdictions.
Senior Staff Writer Paul Gottlieb can be reached at 360-452-2345, ext. 55650, or at [email protected].