Three people who saw a small plane go down in Lake Morton, south of Covington, paddled out in kayaks on Monday to get the pilot out of the aircraft and back to shore, according to the King County Sheriff’s Office.
People who live on the lake “saw it coming down quickly” but didn’t hear sounds from the plane’s engine, which caught their attention, said sheriff’s spokesman Sgt. Ryan Abbott. After the plane crashed into the lake — in unincorporated King County, east of Auburn and west of Black Diamond — three people kayaked out and rescued the 19-year-old pilot, who was conscious and was taken to a hospital, Abbott said.
The crash happened just after 11:20 a.m. and the aircraft was pulled from the lake around 3 p.m., he said.
The 19-year-old pilot was in serious condition at Harborview Medical Center as of Monday afternoon, said a hospital spokeswoman.
Eli Temeyosa, also 19, said he’s been friends with the pilot since middle school and both grew up in Covington. He said his friend sold his pickup truck three months ago and purchased an ultralight for $5,000 from a man in Sequim. Under Federal Aviation Administration rules, flying the single-occupant aircraft doesn’t require a pilot’s license.
“I’m sure it was scary for him,” Temeyosa said of what he presumes was his friend’s emergency landing on the lake, which is 2 miles southeast of Crest Airpark, where the ultralight is stored. “I was thinking about getting one myself, but after this, I’m thinking I’ll rain check.”
The Seattle Times is not naming the pilot because he and his immediate family could not be reached, and his name had not been released by officials.
The Federal Aviation Administration and the National Transportation Safety Board will investigate the cause of the crash, according to the Associated Press.
Note: This story was updated at 2:15 p.m. with new information from the Sheriff’s Office clarifying that three kayakers were involved in the rescue.