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Pilot is current mayor of Newport; Molalla's Deborah Reasoner airlifted to hospital

Two Molalla residents were passengers in a plane crash on the beach in Newport yesterday. Both survived, but suffered injuries.

The incident occurred on Monday, July 8 at 5:10 p.m. on the beach, north of the Jetty in Newport, according to Oregon State Police.

The preliminary investigation, per police, determined the current mayor of Newport, Dean Sawyer, 66, piloted the four-seater plane, a Cessna 172 Skyhawk II. Sawyer had two passengers: Deborah Reasoner, 61, and a seven-year-old juvenile, both of Molalla.

According to police, Sawyer departed from the Newport Municipal Airport at approximately 4:30 p.m. and flew around the Depoe Bay area. Near Newport, Sawyer started to notice there was a mechanical problem with the plane and attempted to return to the Newport airport.

He realized, however, that the plane did not have enough altitude to make it to the airport, so he planned an emergency landing on the beach. He landed the plane on the beach north of the Jetty near the Yaquina Bay Lighthouse.

COURTESY PHOTO: OREGON STATE POLICE - Molalla residents Deborah Reasoner and a seven-year-old juvenile were passengers in a plane crash in Newport on Monday, July 8. Newport Mayor Dean Sawyer was the pilot.

All three occupants were transported to the Samaritan Pacific Communities Hospital in Newport. Sawyer and the juvenile were treated for minor injuries and were released.

But Reasoner sustained serious injuries, police said, and she was transported via a Life Flight Network helicopter to a Portland hospital.

Apparently, Sawyer is an experienced pilot who has had his pilot's license for 40 years. He has been flying the plane that crashed for more than 30 years.

Kristen Wohlers
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