• Former Monroe City Council member died in Banks Lake plane crash

    By: Chris Legeros


    GRANT COUNTY, Wash. - Ken Berger, 60, died Saturday, as he tried to pilot his amphibious plane off of Banks Lake in Eastern Washington.  

    The crash happened near Steamboat Rock State Park at about 5 p.m.

    Terry Cooper witnessed and photographed the crash with his cellphone. 

    He said the pilot seemed to have trouble getting enough lift off the choppy waters. 

    “It looked like he made some air, but maybe 5 feet and then he just did a nosedive.  He was hitting the waves pretty good and kind of bouncing, looked like the plane was bouncing off the waves,” Cooper said.

    Cooper and other boaters rushed to the crash scene. 

    They found Berger trapped underwater. 

    Someone was able to cut the pilot out of his seat belt and bring him to the surface, but firefighters couldn’t revive him.  .

    "It was a pretty hard hit. It appeared the splash was 15 to 20 feet high,” Cooper said. 

    Ken Berger was a Monroe attorney who spent some time serving on the City Council.   He was also active in the local Lions Club. 

    The Federal Aviation Administration will continue to investigate the crash.

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