Mystery surrounds Wallowa County plane crash as cause remains uncertain

By on Friday, February 23rd, 2024 in More Top Stories Northeastern Oregon News

WALLOWA COUNTY — The Wallowa County Sheriff’s Office says that the cause of a plane crash that injured two local men is still unknown and that it might not ever be determined.

Brian Rahn and John Wick, both from the Joseph area, were injured when Rahn’s small plane went down in the Wenaha area on January 26.

Both men were rescued after authorities were alerted to the crash after an automated function on one of the individuals’ Apple iPhones reported the incident. The iPhone’s built-in feature automatically dials 911 upon detecting significant impacts, such as those associated with a plane crash. The Sheriff’s Office says rescue crews faced harsh terrain to get to the crash site. 

Wallowa County Undersheriff Billy Wells says they’re “not sure if they will ever determine the cause.”

Wells added that the plane remains in the same spot where it crashed, due to the rough terrain and winter conditions. He says he heard the plan is to remove the plane from the location this spring.