Bainbridge pilot hospitalized after Oregon crash
October 8, 2009 · Updated 9:12 AM
A Bainbridge Island resident and United Airlines pilot remains in fair condition in a Portland hospital after his experimental airplane crashed Monday morning in a wooded area in Oregon's Columbia County.
Kenneth Turpen, 43, was flying a single-engine Vans RV-8 airplane when Columbia County authorities in the northwest part of Oregon lost communications with him at about 10:56 a.m., according to reports in The Daily Astorian newspaper.
At 10:40 a.m., the Federal Aviation Administration called the Columbia County Sheriff's Office to report the plane as missing. Turpen was scheduled to land at Scappoose International Airpark at midmorning.
Paramedics, firefighters, police and U.S. Coast Guard personnel converged on the area and searched for hours until a Coast Guard helicopter spotted the downed plane at 1:09 p.m. on an isolated hill about five miles outside of St. Helens. By 2:30 p.m., Turpen was on a flight to Legacy Emanuel Hospital in Portland.
News reports said Turpen had multiple injuries but was conscious when searchers found him.
Turpen and his family live in the Crystal Springs of Bainbrdge. According to a brief online autobiography, Turpen flies 757 and 767 jets for United out of SeaTac International Airport.