OLYMPIA – Washington State Department of Transportation Air Search and Rescue crews successfully identified a missing 2006 Cessna T182 Turbo Skylane piloted by Rod Collen in the wooded forests near Queets on Monday. The pilot was discovered deceased inside the aircraft, likely dying upon impact. He had been missing for 36 days. The Collen family has been notified and briefed of the discovery.
Collen departed from the Tacoma Narrows Airport at 5:35 p.m., Monday, March 6, and his plane fell off radar abruptly 45 minutes later. WSDOT and partners searched a 36-square-mile wooded area for two weeks, and suspended the search on March 20 after finding no trace of the pilot or aircraft. On Friday, April 7, crews returned to the area using a new hypothesis of what may have happened to the plane provided by a search and rescue partner in British Columbia. Search conditions had improved greatly due to warmer weather, which had made earlier efforts of locating a white plane difficult in snow. During that flight, crews noticed some items of interest, but they could not be positively identified from the air. On the morning of April 10, a combined team from WSDOT Air Search and Rescue, the Quinault Emergency Management and a K9 team from the King County Search and Rescue Office hiked into the location of interest and identified the aircraft of Rod Collen. The wreckage site is in densely wooded terrain, difficult to spot and not easily accessible.
This concludes WSDOT’s involvement in the mission. Recovery efforts will be directed by the Grays Harbor County Sheriff’s Office. The National Transportation Safety Board will investigate the plane crash.
Photo via Washington State Department of Transportation