Plane crash victims had Camas ties

Kays, Kozacek died after their home-built plane went down April 29 near La Center

Dennis Kozacek shows a Post-Record reporter the inside of a Cessna 150 aircraft used by flight instructors at ATC Camas during an April 2018 photo shoot. Kozacek, 70, of Ridgefield, was killed April 29, in a small plane crash near La Center. (Post-Record file photo)

The plane's wreckage, found April 29, near the East Fork Lewis River in north Clark County. Camas resident Milo Kays, 73, and flight instructor Dennis Kozacek, 70, were killed in the crash. (Courtesy of Clark County Sheriff's Office)

Two men with Camas ties were killed in an April 29 plane crash near La Center.

Milo L. Kays, 73, and Dennis R. Kozacek, 70, died after the small plane Kays was piloting and Kozacek was riding in as a passenger crashed near La Center in what Clark County Sheriff’s Office described in a press release as “a marshy area south of the East Fork Lewis River at the dead end of Bjur Road, off Northeast 269th Street.”

Both men had Camas ties. Kays was a Camas resident and Kozacek, of Ridgefield, was a flight instructor for ATC Camas, a flight training facility at Grove Field airport.

A pilot flying over the Daybreak area of Clark County around 4 p.m., April 29, spotted the wreckage and alerted authorities while circling overhead.

Clark County Fire Rescue personnel and Clark County Sheriff’s deputies located the downed single-engine, two-seater, home-built propeller plane in a shallow pond in about two feet of water, and determined both men had died on impact.

Investigators with the Federal Aviation Administration are trying to determine the exact time and cause of the crash.

In an April 19, 2018, article, Kozacek described his love of flying to the Post-Record and said he had spent 20 years as a pilot in the United States Navy and 31 years flying with FedEx. He spoke with pride about his then-23-year-old son, Carter Kozacek, who was training as a pilot in the United States Air Force, and his brother-in-law, a flight instructor who had flown 757s for United Airlines.

“Flying in general is just one of those things that you kind of get hooked on. It’s the sensation of being in the air and being able to see, and it makes you feel kind of like a bird,” Kozacek told the Post-Record in 2018. “I enjoy instructing. It can be frustrating at times, but it’s very rewarding because usually (you’re training) somebody who has the thrill of aviation like you do.”