Bodies of pilot, passenger found in Columbia River

John McKibbin and Irene Mustain died in the crash of the vintage plane

The Clatsop County Dive Team, March 25, 2016 (Clatsop County Sheriff's Office)
The Clatsop County Dive Team, March 25, 2016 (Clatsop County Sheriff's Office)

ASTORIA, Ore. (KOIN) — The bodies of 2 people were found in the Columbia River days after a vintage plane crashed in about 28 feet of water.

The pilot, John McKibbin, and the passenger, Irene Mustain, died Wednesday while they were headed to the Pacific Ocean to scatter the ashes of Mrs. Mustain’s husband.

The Clatsop County Dive Team, March 25, 2016 (Clatsop County Sheriff's Office)
The Clatsop County Dive Team, March 25, 2016 (Clatsop County Sheriff’s Office)

The plane took off from Vancouver’s Pearson Air Field and crashed around 3:50 p.m. Witnesses called 911 to report a plane had gone down in the Columbia River, and one caller said, “It was flying around and then it took a nose dive.”

McKibbin was the co-owner of a 1941 North American AT-6, commonly known as the “Texan.”

Weather and water conditions made the search and recovery difficult. Divers on Friday went to a spot in the river where sonar detected anomalies and located plane debris scattered about.

McKibbin’s body was recovered, but officials said Mustain’s body was spotted but not recovered. Wreckage from the plane prevented divers from bringing her body up, but another effort will be made soon.

McKibbin was 69. Mustain was 63.

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