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Small plane forced to land on Hanford island

A small airplane apparently landed on a Columbia River island, like the ones seen in this aerial photo near the Hanford nuclear reservation Monday, but took off before emergency responders could investigate.
A small airplane apparently landed on a Columbia River island, like the ones seen in this aerial photo near the Hanford nuclear reservation Monday, but took off before emergency responders could investigate. Tri-City Herald

A pilot who landed a plane on an island in the Columbia River on Monday reportedly managed to fly away before needing to be rescued, said Rae Moss with Mission Support Alliance.

Initial reports were the small plane crashed or landed on an island near the Ringold area of Franklin County about 12:30 p.m. The island is east of the Columbia Generating Station nuclear plant on the Hanford nuclear reservation.

Hanford fire officials and rescue workers were called out but later learned the pilot had taken off safely, said Moss.

It is unclear who is investigating the incident.

Hanford Fire officials referred questions to the Mission Support Alliance. The Franklin County Sheriff’s Department was investigating the plane’s ownership and the department referred questions to Benton County, but officials there said they were not involved with the incident.

The Hanford Reach National Monument closed the islands to the public from the shore of Richland to protect ancient tribal grounds.

Dan Haas, lead planner for the national monument, said he was uncertain if an incident had occurred and if it was on one of the islands within the reach. If there is any damage, the monument will consult with the Department of Energy and other agencies to address it, he said.

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