USGS River Gauge
7/31/2018 Plane Crash
A private pilot survived a plane crash after clipping a cable near this location. The pilot reported a “…cable flashed by close overhead and I felt a single strong shake along with a noise like a plucked cable.” (Imagine playing the guitar with an aircraft.) Rafters nearby came to his aid and assisted in his rescue.
From the NTSB report:
The private pilot departed on a cross-country, personal flight, and during the flight, he chose to fly at low altitude over a river. The pilot reported that, after passing over a group of river rafters about 500 ft above ground level, he “dropped [the airplane] low to the river.” Shortly after descending, the airplane’s vertical stabilizer struck a cableway that crossed over the river. The pilot lost airplane control, and the airplane subsequently impacted the side of the river canyon and then came to rest partially submerged in the river. The cableway was supported by two fixed A-frame structures located on the sides of the riverbank, and the cable height at its center above the water’s surface was 32 ft. The pilot likely was not properly monitoring the environment during the low-altitude operation, which resulted in his failure to see and avoid the cableway.
In the recommendation field of the NTSB report, the investigator summed it up in three sentences: “Pre-run the canyon above the rim looking for wires and other obstructions. Or, otherwise, don’t fly between solid objects that might support cables. (I.E. in canyons.)”