Float plane goes for icy dip

Port of Hood River workers were forced to wing it on Nov. 28 when an unoccupied float plane began to sink -- and they could not locate the owner.

"We had no clue who the pilot was," said Mike Doke, port marketing director.

The scramble began about 10 a.m. when heavy snowfall from a sudden storm weighted down the tail section of the 1968 Cessna while it was parked at the airplane dock on the south side of the Marina. The sudden accumulation of wet material quickly caused the rear two-thirds of the craft to submerge -- and hid the registration numbers.

Once port maintenance workers placed "boomers" around the plane to stop any oil or gas leakage, officials tried to determine who it belonged to before any further action was taken.

They quickly learned that the plane had been parked at the dock for several days without authorization. Doke said the situation was finally resolved when one of the three tenant pilots, John Chaney, arrived at the scene and revealed that the pilot/owner of the immersed plane was Kagel E. Smith of Vancouver, Wash., who was visiting his brother, Lane, in nearby Husum, Wash.

"The port was in a difficult position to try to figure out what to do next without incurring liability," said Doke.

Kagel Smith was then called at his brother's home about the plane's peril, and arrived at the dock about 11:30 a.m. Chaney, who happened to work for SDS Lumber Company in Bingen, Wash., then arranged for a barge and crane to arrive from across the river and by early afternoon the airplane had been pulled out of the water.

Doke said the port will probably not pursue trespassing charges for that incident, but wants to send a clear message to other pilots that landing at the Marina is prohibited without a written lease.

"We don't have a transitional dock for float planes and pilots need to make arrangements with us before they arrive," said Doke.

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Parkdale third graders sing "12 Disaster Days of Christmas"

Welcome to your sing-able Christmas gift list. What follows is an emergency rendition of “12 Days of Christmas” – for outfitting your home or car in case of snow storm, earthquake, flood or other emergency. Read it as a simple list, or sing it to the tune of “12 Days” – you know, as in “ … and a partridge in a pear tree…” Not to make light of it, but the song is a familiar framework for a set of gift ideas that you could consider gathering together, even if the recipient already owns items such as a bunch of coats, tire chains and flashlights. Stores throughout the Gorge are stocked up on all these items. Buying all 12 days might be prohibitive, but here are three ideas for checking any of the dozen off your list (notations follow, 1-12.) The gift items needed to stay warm, dry and safe are also coded to suggest items in your abode (A) in your car (C) or both (B). 12 Gallons of Water (A) 11 Family meals (B) 10 Cans of propane (A) 9 Hygiene bags (B) 8 Packs of batteries (A) 7 Spare coats (B) 6 Bright red flares (C) 5 Cozy blankets (B) 4 Tire chains (C) 3 Flashlights (B) 2 cell phone chargers (B) 1 And a crush-proof first aid kit (B) Price ranges? Here’s a few quotes for days Three, Two, Four and Nine: n A family gift of flashlights (three will run $15-30, Hood River Supply, Tum-A-Lum) n Cell phone chargers (two will run $30-60) n Tire chains (basic set, $30, Les Schwab, returnable if unused for the winter) n Family meals ($100 or so should cover the basics for three or four reasonably well-fed days) n The home kit should be kept in a handy place near an exit, and remember that water needs to be replenished every few months. If you have a solid first aid kit already, switch out the gift idea with “and-a-sto-o-u-t- tub-for it-all …” Otherwise, it’s a case of assembling your home or car kits and making sure all members of the family know what the resources are and how to use them (ie flares and propane). Emergency situations are at worst life-threatening, at best deeply uncomfortable if you and your family are left without power for an extended period, or traveling and find yourself in a situation where you need to wait out a storm, lengthy traffic delay, or other crisis. Notes on the 12 gift ideas: 12 – Gallons of water: that’s one per person in a four-member family to last for three days, the recommended minimum to be prepared for utility outages. 11 – Easy-open packaged goods, energy bars, dried food and nuts are good things to include for nutrition. Think of what your family of four needs for three days to stay fortified and hydrated (see number 12). Can-opener also recommended 10 – If you have a propane camping stove, keep extra fuel handy. 9 – Hygiene bags: put packaged moistened towelettes, toilet paper, and plastic ties in large garbage bags (for personal sanitation) Resource list courtesy of Hood River County Emergency Management, Barbara Ayers, manager/ 541-386-1213. The county also reminds residents to Get a Kit, Make A Plan to connect your family if separated, and Stay Informed. See www.co.hood-river.or.us to opt-in for citizen alerts. Enlarge

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