GRESHAM, Ore. (KOIN) — Two men were left with serious injuries after their plane crashed into a field in southeast Gresham Monday.
A witness told KOIN 6 that he knew something was wrong when he saw the plane tilting back and forth. It crashed about 400 yards from his house in an old nursery near 182nd Street and Southeast Richey Road.
“I saw a plane that was coming down,” Rafael Dronca said. “It was moving to its left, to its right, and all of a sudden, it was going down really quick.
Dronca was playing in the yard with his kids when he saw the plane struggling in the sky.
“It was tipping all the way so a wing was facing the ground and the other was facing the sky,” he said. “Then, at the last second, it started getting back to normal, but by then it was already probably like 200 feet in the air.”
He said the plane disappeared behind the bushes and brush. Then he heard the sound of impact.
“Once we didn’t see it anymore, it just made a big, loud noise like it crashed.”
Dronca called 911 and crews from Portland and Gresham fire departments rushed to the scene. Life Flight was called out to the field because the plane was 400 to 500 yards off of the road. Emergency responders had to hike in to reach the two men inside the plane.
“After a little bit of looking, found the plane in an abandoned nursery amongst some shrubbery and bushes and trees,” Gresham Fire Battalion Chief Jason McGowan said.
He said the two men — identified as Ameen Alshangiti, 25, and 41-year-old Aaron Michelsen — got out of the plane themselves. Both went to the hospital—one by Life Flight, the other by ambulance.
“Some guy was just leaning on the airplane,” Dronca said. “It looked like he was hurt.”
Officials said the men were conscious and talking afterward, and that the crash could have been much worse given the circumstances.
“We want to give kudos for both occupants for doing a very good job,” Sgt. Brandon White of the Multnomah County Sheriff’s Office said. “Bringing the plane down as safely as they could and not bringing it down in a populated area.”
“It always amazes me,” McGowan said. “When a plane comes out of the sky and people live from that, and not only they live from that, but they are conscious and talking—that is pretty incredible.”
According to the FAA, the plane was a BE 35 Beechcraft Bonanza. Both the FAA and the NTSB are investigating the crash.