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Just a heads up for anyone heading to Ruby/HT/WW. "partially submerged in the river"


WESTWATER, Utah (KKCO/KJCT) -- A rescue effort is underway after a single-engine plane crashed in the Colorado River, along the Colorado/Utah border.


Initial calls came in around 1:00 p.m. Tuesday. In a Facebook post, the Mesa County Sheriff's Office said preliminary reports indicate the 59-year-old solo pilot is conscious and breathing but suffered injuries.


A rafter in the area was able to help the pilot. Rescue operations are being set up at the Westwater Boat Ramp.


The plane is believed to be a Kitfox aircraft and is reportedly partially submerged in the river, according to the Sheriff's Office.

This story will be updated as additional informaiton comes in.
 

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If he was flying in there on purpose that's fucked and I wish he would've died. I was almost killed by an incident in Dubuque canyon a couple years ago with a jack ass X military pilot flying a trainer plane up the canyon and cut the powerline right below the dam. There better be a damn good reason why he was there
 

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Yellow plane....

There has been a yellow plane flyinging there HR canyon for 5 years now,
Making touch and goes on the water, right in front of rafters !!!
Very dangerous stunt...
They don't belong in there, wondering why FAA allows this kind of dangerous
activity to ?
BLM does not seem to care either,
Someone is going to get killed, better the pilot then the rafters....
 

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If he had no reason for being there I stand by what I said. I am still dealing with attorneys and litigation over that crap! It's nature's way of culling idiots IMO. If he had a good reason for being there I am sorry and hope he recovers soon.
 

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Yeah, the yellow plane (Piper Cub/Super Cub, I think). He landed it when I was there earlier this month. I mean, he landed the plane riverside in the canyon, just past Black Rocks. I was wondering about that as I paddled past, it's a designated wilderness area, right? But still, impressive piece of flying, that gravel bar was really, really short.

-Tom
 

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Don't the planes have registration numbers that can be reported to the FAA (hopefully with photodocumentation)? I think part of Westwater is in a Wilderness Study Area rather than a bona-fide Wilderness Area, a lot of R-H is probably privately owned and not subject to the requirements. If I'm incorrect, someone please clear it up.

-AH
 

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Andy H.

You are correct, the tail number is the aircraft's license plate. Just type in the tail No. on google and 90% of the time all the information will come up. There are about three or four dirt landing strip's along the West Water run, Loma to Cisco, that are within a few hundred yards or closer to the river in uncontrolled air space (which are legal to fly in, following all FAA Regulations clearly). 99% of all pilots are very courteous. Thank goodness the rafters were there to rescue the pilot, that could of been a life or death situation very easily. Hopefully some day he can return the favor and help a rafter out.
 

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We ran Ruby-HT this past weekend. The plane in question pulled the same stunt with us. The ranger was checking our permit as we floated on the river at the time. He snapped a few pictures of the plane in question. Said that he had already gotten 10 tickets this year and just didn't care.
 

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Sounds like this is a different plane.

The 9 news article has a photo showing a broken red&white plane described as 'home built', not a yellow piper.

 

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Yeah, the yellow plane (Piper Cub/Super Cub, I think). He landed it when I was there earlier this month. I mean, he landed the plane riverside in the canyon, just past Black Rocks. I was wondering about that as I paddled past, it's a designated wilderness area, right? But still, impressive piece of flying, that gravel bar was really, really short.

-Tom
Illegal. Should certainly be reported.
 

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We ran Ruby-HT this past weekend. The plane in question pulled the same stunt with us. The ranger was checking our permit as we floated on the river at the time. He snapped a few pictures of the plane in question. Said that he had already gotten 10 tickets this year and just didn't care.
Those misdemeanor tickets people pay are forfeited bails for offenses punishable by up to 6 mos. in jail. And that's why. I wish they would prioritize that sort of enforcement.
 

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Illegal. Should certainly be reported.
To clarify, the crashed plane indeed looks like a homebuilt/ultralight, the photos show a red/white color scheme. The other plane I referenced is definitely a Piper (I took a few flying lessons back in the 90's, I know a Cub...), canary yellow with oversized Alaska-style tires. I snapped a pic and just now looked at it, unfortunately the angle doesn't show any numbers.
 

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I saw the yellow plane on Saturday also. With passengers and no doors, I thought it was part of some sanctioned tour. I certainly wouldn't want to be one with the way he was buzzing the canyon. If one of those windstorms had happened, he'd end up just like the red and white plane, with more victims.
 

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It is amazing how people who don't know WTF they are talking about, keep squawking about it.


Anyone can fly those canyons, I have myself. It is NOT illegal. There is a legal requirement of distance to people, occupied dwellings, vessels and vehicles. That distance is 500', it is NOT 500' above, just 500'. If a pilot is landing or taking off, that requirement does not exist.

Utah has perhaps 100 or more remote landing strips, many are right next to the Green river and the Colorado River. A pilot can land on ANY private property with permission of the owner. A pilot can land on county roads unless the county specifically prohibits it.

Sometimes, you can be flying along, and all of a sudden there is a canoe that you didn't see. Not much you can do at that point. Most people that I see from the air are waving and excited to see an airplane close up. 500' seems a lot closer than it is.

It could be that this pilot is a jerk. But, from my experience, most pilots are a higher grade of people than most. Certainly higher than the asshole who wishes someone death because he is flying an airplane near where you are rafting.



To hope someone death says a lot about you. Angry much?
 

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OH, and the FAA doesn't give out tickets to pilots. It's not like driving a car.

IF a pilot did something illegal, the FAA will speak to him. The FAA can take away a license, or can require additional training. But, they do not give out "buzzing" tickets.
 

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I didn't mean to imply that I had a problem with it. He seemed like a great pilot. It just seemed a little dicey with the weather that day.
 

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Hmm...I certainly wasn't wishing anyone death, as mentioned above I thought it was pretty impressive flying. Broke up an otherwise flat section of paddling. But to be clear, he didn't land on a strip, it was a gravel bar right next to the river (maybe 30', tops?). I could be wrong, but I thought the section between Mee and Knowles Canyon was wilderness (Moore Bottom). If so, landing an aircraft is specifically prohibited by the '64 Wilderness Act, sec. (b), fwiw, and yeah I had to look that up (I thought the Act prohibited plane landings). But maybe it was a BLM section of land, not sure, and again I wasn't wound up about it. Just thought it was unusual.
 
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