Pilot, passengers identified in Decatur Island crash
June 17, 2008 · Updated 2:36 PM
Sheriff's officials have identified the pilot and two passengers of the
West Isle Air flight that crashed Wednesday on Decatur Island:
Michael James Laird, 56, of Graham, pilot; Darron Scott Ramey, 37,
Anacortes; Brett Evans, 35, Coupeville.
The men died Wednesday when their chartered plane crashed on Decatur
Island shortly after takeoff. The four-passenger single-engine Cessna 172
crashed at 1:45 p.m. while heading west over a forested hill. It was leaving
Decatur Island for Anacortes.
Sheriff Bill Cumming said Ramey and Evans were doing construction work on the island and were headed home when the crash occurred.
Witnesses said the plane failed to keep its elevation after initially clearing the trees at the north end of the runway. Decatur Island residents Donald and Sharon Hall were working close to the runway when the plane took off.
It took off, got several hundred yards past the runway and then just went down into the woods," Donald Hall said. "It took them about an hour to find the crash site."
Federal Aviation Administration investigators were at the scene Thursday
and were expected to examine the planes maintenance records, West Isle Air Vice President Dave Ross said.
Laird was an experienced commercial aviator and company veteran, Ross
said. "He was one of our Chieftain pilots and had been with us quite a while."
West Isle has a fleet of 17 planes. It provides daily passenger flight service to Anacortes, the San Juan Islands, Bellingham and Seattle via Boeing Field, with van shuttle to Sea-Tac. Connections are available on all flights to Blakely, Center, Decatur, Roche Harbor, Stuart and Waldron.