NEWPORT — A plane piloted by Newport Mayor Dean Sawyer, 66, crash-landed near Yaquina Bay State Park in Newport just after 5 p.m. on Monday night, with the mayor and two passengers inside: Deborah Reasoner and a seven-year-old child. No life-threatening injuries resulted, although Reasoner, 61, of Molalla, sustained some serious injuries and was later transported by helicopter for medical care.
The mayor, a pilot of 40 years, posted an update on the accident on his Facebook page, saying that the 1974 Cessna 172M had crashed while flying back from a whale watching trip in Depoe Bay. The Oregon State Police report stated that the plane had mechanical problems during flight, prompting Sawyer to plan for an emergency landing since he knew that the plane did not have enough altitude to make it to the Newport airport.
Sawyer said he was at home resting from torn cartilage in his chest and asked for prayers to be sent to Reasoner.
“I would like to thank all the great emergency responders,” wrote Sawyer, “and special shout out to (Lincoln County Sheriff’s) Deputy Bruce McGuire, who was first on scene and gave great care to my passenger.”
According to the Lincoln County Sheriff’s Office, Deputy McGuire and Sergeant Karl Vertner were first on scene, and provided first aid and scene coordination until Newport Fire and Rescue arrived.
John Parker, a beachgoer at the scene of the crash, described the accident. After he finished flying his drone at the beach, he heard an aircraft engine and saw Sawyer’s plane, thinking it was a large drone.
“It was so low to the ground. I was looking at it, and something didn’t seem right,” said Parker. “Then it just went cutting towards the ground further and further, and I thought, ‘whatever it is, it’s going to crash.’”
After seeing the crash, he, like others nearby, rushed over to lend aid to the passengers until first responders arrived. Sawyer and the juvenile passenger were treated for minor injuries at Samaritan Pacific Communities Hospital and released. Reasoner, who sustained the most serious injuries, was transported first to Samaritan and then by life flight to Legacy Emanuel Hospital in Portland.
The Newport Police Department, Newport Fire and Rescue, Lincoln County Sheriff’s Office and Pacific West Ambulance all responded to assist on the scene of the crash. Oregon State Police are handling the investigation. The agency put out a press release but did not immediately respond to requests for additional information.