Pilot safe after small plane crashes in water near Edmonds’ Marina Beach Thursday afternoon

Updated with additional details about the boater who rescued the pilot.

A small plane went down in the water just off Edmonds’ Marina Beach around 4:30 p.m. Thursday afternoon. The pilot, who was rescued by a private boat, was uninjured and there were no passengers on board, Edmonds police said.

Shortly after the pilot  — a 50-year-old man from Buckley, Wash. — was rescued, the plane began to sink. It is now completely submerged, authorities at the scene said.

Edmonds resident Adam Bock is the boater who rescued the pilot.

Bock, who works at Boeing, was in a boat trolling about half a mile in front of the Edmonds marina breakwater when the plane went over the top of him.

Adam Bock

“I knew he was in trouble,” Bock said. “I saw it go over and the prop wasn’t spinning, and he was really low, and I was just trying to get the fishing gear up as fast as I could.”

Bock said the pilot was flying north with a couple of friends in other planes when the engine apparently quit, Bock saw him turn back toward the beach to try to set it down there, but there were too many people, so the pilot “just flared it out and made an amazing landing.”

The pilot set the plane down about 100 feet from the beach, Bock said. “I had the boat moving as he hit the water…had my radio on, called the Coast Guard.”

When the boat came up alongside the plane, the pilot was standing on the wing.

“He was standing on the wing, just waving me down… had just a little water on his vest… and stepped onto the swim step of the boat, and I asked, ‘are you OK’?” Bock explained. “Another minute and he’d have been swimming for the beach.”

The two tried to get a rope around the plane, but in less than two minutes, it sank into the choppy water, with waves about 2 feet high.

Bock described the pilot as “super calm, he wasn’t shaking, there was no panic.” He then dropped the pilot off at the Edmonds Marina fuel dock, where police, fire and Coast Guard officials interviewed both men.

When a firefighter called him a hero, Bock replied that “it wasn’t a big deal, I just got the guy out.”

Bock decided to go back out and try fishing again, thinking that the rescue may have brought him good luck. Nope, the fish didn’t play along.

— Reporting by Bob Throndsen




Edmonds police spokesperson and Acting Assistant Chief Josh McClure said that the pilot reported there was a mechanical failure. Police were working to notify the Federal Aviation Administration and the National Transportation Safety Board about the crash. Although the pilot was uninjured, he was “understandably pretty shaken,” said McClure.



  1. Julia, you are an absolute Edmond’s Treasure (I enjoy all or your photos)! How on earth did you capture this? Talk about being in the right place at the right time…. I say this after being very thankful that the pilot and no one else was injured.

    1. Thank you, Annon, very much for the kind words. I was literally sitting in my home getting my hair cut by a friend and looking out the window when I spotted the plane. It looked like it was coming down. I said that plane is too low! I basically shouted to my friend to stop! I have to get a shot of this plane! She backed up and said go ahead. My camera happened to be in the perfect spot and I started shooting! I also called Teresa Wippel and told her what had just happened…she was so calm, I was shaking. I assumed those on the beach, or the two planes circling overhead had already called 911 or the pilot had radioed his distress. She asked about the pilot and my husband, along with my friend told me he was on the wing so I took a few more shots. We watched as a boat seemed to race out of nowhere and head straight for the plane. The boat pulled up beside the plane and picked up the pilot. We watched a little more as the plane sank. Eventually my friend finished cutting my hair.

      1. What a story…on both sides of the camera! Glad your friend stopped cutting so you could capture this hair-raising drama ; ) .

  2. Glad to see this great ending to a potential disaster. It’s amazing what well prepared and level headed people can do when they have to.

    Years ago my friend and I witnessed a plane crash just southwest of Edmonds that did not end well. We were duck hunting in a then unincorporated area between Richmond Beach and Edmonds. We saw a small plane practicing stunt flying over the bay when it suddenly seemed to dive straight down and there was a boom and a flash of light. This happened very fast and we weren’t quite sure what we had seen at the moment but heard the bad news for sure when we got back home. No survivor. As I recall, this happened right around the same time they were building or had just finished the, then, new small boat harbor. An article about the crash appeared in the Edmonds Tribune Review that week.

  3. Some friends and I were at Giradi’s celebrating a 73rd birthday….and the command unit of the FD came by, sirens loud, then another FD Ambulance, then the helicopters above! We wondered what in the heck was going on!

    Mystery solved! with a happy ending…except for the sunken plane…

  4. Not all private aviation crises end badly and this is a well documented example. Every private pilot is trained, over and over again, to continually look around and ask themselves—in the event of an engine failure—where am I going to put the airplane. It is ingrained into us. This is a case where the pilot did exactly what he was trained to do…and he did it flawlessly. On behalf of all of us who fly or have flown as pilot-in-command, well done. We are proud of you.

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