By Al Camp
OKANOGAN – An Ephrata pilot survived a crash Wednesday morning east of town while spraying a canola field.
Ward Bischoff, 41, was spraying a Townsend Ranch field about two miles east of here on the Colville Indian Reservation around 8:30 a.m.
His plane clipped off two of three power lines that stretched across the field, east to west. Rescuers staged their rescue about a quarter mile north of the Cameron Lake Road on the Cameron Lake-Omak Lake Cutoff Road.
One of the power lines appeared to have stayed with the plane, probably breaking its fall. That line eventually draped across north-south power lines between Chief Joseph and Omak.
Bischoff was aware of the power lines, and was approaching the field from the south for better visibility for a second run, Sheriff Frank Rogers said.
“It was one of those, damn, and he hit it,” Rogers said.
LifeLine Ambulance, firefighters from the rural Cameron Lake Road area along with Okanogan and Omak responded.
Also responding were the State Patrol, Colville Tribal Police and Okanogan County Sheriff’s Office.
The extraction of the pilot, which required cutting him out of the plane, took about an hour. He was stabilized at Mid-Valley Hospital in Omak before being flown by MedStar to Sacred Heart Hospital in Spokane.
His wife has been notified of the crash.