Police release powerful body-cam video following plane crash; pilot dies
SPOKANE, Wash. (AP) — The Canadian pilot of a small plane that crashed Sunday in Spokane has died.
Providence Sacred Heart Medical Center confirmed that 61-year-old Michael Clements died Tuesday. He had been in critical condition since the crash.
The single-engine Piper Malibu had just taken off from Felts Field in Spokane when it crashed near a railroad viaduct along the Spokane River, avoiding a building.
The Spokesman-Review reports responding police officers, Burlington Northern Santa Fe workers and witnesses removed the pilot from the upside-down cockpit amid spilled fuel.
Curtis Neal, who witnessed the crash, said the plane banked left before it slammed into the ground. Neal was the first on the scene and first to deliver aid.
“I ran over there and tapped on the window,” Neal said. “He didn’t respond.”
Neal broke out the window to try to free the pilot, who was suspended upside down.
“It looked bad,” he said.
Two Spokane Police officers then arrived, and one of the officers cut the seat belt holding the pilot. They pulled the pilot out through a narrow opening.
“You’re watching every breath and thinking, we’ve got to get this guy out here,” Sgt. Chris Crane told the Spokesman-Review.
KXLY posted redacted body camera footage of the crash provided by the Spokane Police Department. The video shows both good Samaritans and others crowding around the pilot, and making sure to stand back from the crashed plane.
Aircraft records show the plane is registered to Michael Clements of Stony Plain, Alberta.