Police investigate Shady Cove plane crash

SHADY COVE — At least two people face charges for their actions following the crash of an ultralight plane in southwest Oregon.

Shady Cove police Chief Rick Mendenhall said the plane lost power late Saturday afternoon and spiraled into a fence that borders an airstrip not far from a row of houses.

The plane and the fence were heavily damaged, and Mendenhall said the pilot fled the scene of the crash.

"It'd be like a hit and run," he said. "It still applies even though you're in a plane." Mendenhall said the pilot, whom he declined to identify, was removed from the wreckage by a man on an all-terrain vehicle. He said others picked up parts of the plane and a man on a tractor moved the craft.

He said two people have been charged with hindering the investigation and more could be charged as the investigation continues.

"A lot of people participated in removing the aircraft. Basically, it was a crime scene," Mendenhall said. "There's still a lot of variables in this whole fiasco."

Debby Cam, who lives near the crash site and is a shareholder in the airstrip, identified the pilot was Chris Malott of White City and the owner of the plane as Ryan Thompson of Shady Cove.

Cam said Malott was taken to his home after the crash and he called a friend to take him to the hospital.

A Providence Medford Medical Center spokeswoman said Malott was in good condition Monday but declined to describe his injuries.

Malott would not comment when reached in his hospital room by a reporter from the Mail Tribune newspaper of Medford.

Though he wouldn't confirm Malott as the pilot, Mendenhall said the person flying the plane did not have a license. It was unclear to the police if a license is needed to fly a two-seat ultralight, and they were awaiting word from the Federal Aviation Administration.

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