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Victims of eastern Oregon plane crash identified

The plane had taken off from Caldwell, Idaho, and was believed to be en route to Baker City, Oregon.
Credit: Baker Co. Sheriff's Office
Airplane after crashing on August 11, 2018, in a field near I-84 and Lindley Road in Baker County, Oregon. N-number was blotted out as family had not yet been notified.

BAKER COUNTY, Oregon — The victims of a single-engine airplane crash that occurred in Baker County on Saturday morning have been identified as pilot William J. Watts, 77, and his passenger Mihoko Matsuda Nelsen, 70.

The Baker County Sheriff’s Office released their identities Monday morning. They were traveling from Caldwell when their plane went down in a hay field near Interstate 84 and Lindley Road.

When deputies arrived on the scene they discovered the plane had crashed nose first into the ground. Watts and Nelson were believed to have been en route to the Baker Airport.

According to the Federal Aviation Administration N-number registry, the airplane was a single-engine Mooney M20K, manufactured in 1979, and registered to a business in Canyon County.

The Federal Aviation Administration and the National Transportation Safety Board removed the airplane and will conduct an investigation to determine the cause of the crash.

The Baker City Fire Department, Baker Rural Fire Department, Baker City Police Department, and Oregon State Police assisted the Baker County Sheriff's Office at the scene.