PORTLAND, Ore. (AP) — Oregon officials have identified the victims who lost their lives after a small plane precipitously dropped out of the sky and crashed through the roof of a home on Tuesday.
Police in Newberg, a small city about 25 miles southwest of Portland, said 20-year-old Barrett Bevacqua and 22-year-old Michele Cavallotti were the two victims found dead at the scene. Cavallotti was an instructor at the pilot training school Hillsboro Aero Academy and Bevacqua was a student pilot, police said in a news release.
The third passenger, 20-year-old Emily Hurd, was airlifted to a hospital with serious injuries.
Dramatic video taken Tuesday evening showed the plane rapidly descending straight down toward the ground. The aircraft crashed through the roof of a home with its wreckage strewn partially inside the house and in the backyard, Tualatin Valley Fire & Rescue said in a news release.
Multiple people were inside the home when the crash occurred, but they were able to evacuate safely, the release said. Nobody on the ground was injured.
Search and rescue crews were sent to inspect the structural stability of the home. Neither the home nor the aircraft caught fire, officials said. The Red Cross is assisting the family that was displaced.
Micah Schauer, the 22-year-old Newberg resident who took the video of the plane spiraling downward, said he was leaving his home when he glimpsed what at first looked like a piece of cardboard falling from the sky.
“I didn’t think it was a real plane at all at first,” Schauer said. It wasn’t until about halfway through the 10-second video that the realization dawned on him, he said.
In disbelief, he sent the video to his girlfriend and family.
“I sent a mass text, like, ‘Is that real? Did this happen?’ ” Schauer said. “They were shocked.”
Schauer then went to the site of the crash, where a chaotic scene was unfolding.
“It’s such a small town, everybody wanted to go see it,” he said. “Life Flight ended up landing right next to me. … It was wild. I’ve never seen anything quite like that, ever.”
The small Piper PA-44 Seminole plane crashed around 6:45 p.m. Tuesday, National Transportation Safety Board investigator Eric Gutierrez said at a news conference in Newberg on Wednesday. Multiple agencies responded, finding the plane in the back of a house.
Authorities worked to get Hurd out of the plane first so she could be taken to a hospital and then turned to extricating the two others who had died, Patrick Fale, assistant chief of Tualatin Valley Fire & Rescue, said at the news conference.
It is not yet known why the plane crashed, officials said, adding that they didn’t yet know if a distress call had been made. Gutierrez said investigators will review the plane’s maintenance records, pilot records and weather conditions at the time, among other things.
Gaining access to the plane was difficult because the majority of it remained in the house Wednesday morning, Gutierrez said. Crews were working to move the plane to a secure facility Wednesday afternoon where investigators could do a more thorough examination of the aircraft.
It could take from 18 to 24 months for a plane crash report to be finished and released, Gutierrez said.
The Newberg-Dundee Police Department is partnering with the Yamhill County Medical Examiner and District Attorney’s Office to determine a precise cause of death. The Federal Aviation Administration and the National Transportation Safety Board have taken over the investigation related to the cause of the crash.
Associated Press reporter Lisa Baumann contributed from Bellingham, Washington.