Camas flight instructor, Vancouver teen killed in plane crash

Cessna went down Wednesday evening near Goble, Ore.; the cause remains unknown

By John Branton and Eric Florip

Published:

 

(Updated at 9:15 p.m.)

A Camas flight instructor and a Vancouver teenager were killed late Wednesday in a plane crash near Goble, Ore.

Todd Norrish, 47, and 17-year-old student pilot Jimmy Kravets died when the small Cessna aircraft they were flying went down sometime Wednesday evening, according to the Columbia County Sheriff’s Office.

Deputies received notification of a missing pilot late that night. Searchers located the wreckage and the bodies of both of the plane’s occupants at 3:38 a.m. Thursday. A cellphone signal helped identify the location, authorities said.

The Federal Aviation Administration and the National Transportation Safety Board were investigating the crash scene. The cause of the crash so far remains unclear.

Earlier reports indicated that the plane took off in rainy skies Wednesday from Pearson Field in Vancouver. The plane was registered to Aero Maintenance.

On Thursday, owner Bill Gough released a written statement on behalf of the company.

“We at Aero Maintenance Flight Center Inc. offer our prayers and condolences to the families and friends of one of our flight instructors and a student who were lost yesterday evening in an aircraft accident,” Gough said. “We are deeply saddened by this accident and are currently assisting the FAA and NTSB with their investigation with the hopes that the cause of the accident will be determined quickly.”

Norrish is one of six flight instructors listed on Aero Maintenance’s website. He and Kravets were flying a 1972 Cessna 150L plane Wednesday night.

The Cessna 150 has two seats, overhead wings, tricycle landing gear and a basic horsepower of 100. The plane is considered dependable, safe and easy to fly and is widely used by private flight-training businesses as a basic plane for students just starting classes.

Tiffany Rider of Camas, Norrish’s sister, said he was an upbeat, humorous man who often whistled or sang in his home.

“Todd was amazing. He was a 100 percent family man,” she said. “If he was not working, he was with his wife and daughters.”

Norrish is survived by his wife, Dorie, and two girls, Mika, 16, and Josie, 14, Rider said.

She said Norrish was known for stopping to help people and chatting with anyone.

“I don’t think he had an enemy,” she added.

“He’s been flying over 26 years and just loved it,” she said. While serving in the U.S. Marine Corps at age 19 or 20, he paid for private flying lessons.

Norrish drove a 1980 Honda with more than 300,000 miles on it, her son Easton Rider said. But he chose not to buy a better car so that money could go to his daughters’ activities and needs.

Several agencies helped with the search effort early Thursday, including the Clark County Sheriff’s Office, which sent a boat equipped with thermal imaging technology. Columbia River Fire and Rescue, Oregon State Police and the U.S. Coast Guard also assisted.