Investigators pull mangled plane from Eatonville home

by: Alison Grande Updated:

EATONVILLE, Wash. - NTSB officials investigated after a pilot crashed a Cessna 172 into the yard of an Eatonville home and then skidded into the house.

With help from the Eatonville fire chief and a police officer, investigators pushed the plane off the front porch of the house and back onto its wheels and began inspecting the aircraft Friday morning to determine whether the crash was caused by mechanical failure or pilot error.

 The badly damaged plane was likely aiming for the runway at Eatonville's Swanson Airport on Thursday around 5 p.m. when it crashed into the home located on Airport Road East, right next to the runway.

Investigators said two men in the plane were flying from San Luis Obispo to Seattle for a business trip.  They deal in miniature figurines, such as those found in doll houses or miniature train sets.

 After fueling up in Oregon, their flight took a nerve-wracking turn when heavy rain moved in and forced the pilot to look for a place to land.

 Parts of the plane are still stuck in a nearby tree.

 Witnesses told KIRO 7 the engine didn't sound right and the plane stalled and dropped, and are barely any skid marks where the plane crashed on it wheels.

Tim Brown said he was working in a hangar at the airport when the plane went down.

"I heard an engine coming in and it just didn't sound right,” said Brown. “(I) got up and ran to the door and heard the impact.  (It sounded) like somebody had shot a cannon."

Brown said the plane missed the runway, clipped a tree, and plunged into the yard.

When Brown got to the plane, he said the pilot and passenger were already out. The 36- and 38 year-old men had only minor injuries. They were treated at the crash site and released. The men did not want to go to the hospital.

Neighbors came to see the house after the crash.

 "I was thinking it could possibly be my house. I had to come see where it was at,” said Lori Harrison.

Bob Walter said he knows the woman who lives in the house and was thankful she was not home at the time of the crash. He was surprised when KIRO 7 told him the men only had minor injuries.

"The plane is obviously very badly damaged. It's hard to survive a crash in a small plane like that," said Walter.

The plane is owned by Matthew Reid of San Luis Obispo. Reid’s family would not confirm who was on board.

NTSB investigators will interview the two men Friday.  It will likely take a few weeks to a few months for the NTSB to release an official cause of the crash.