The Piper J-3 Cub pilot reported that, while taking off from a gravel bar near Woodburn, Oregon, he felt a bump as the airplane became airborne over the river.
The passenger reported that they hit something, however the pilot stated that he never saw anyone until he continued the climb and circled over the area, where he noticed a kayaker on the river.
He landed on a gravel bar near the kayaker, rendered first aid, and called for medical assistance.
The kayaker reported that, while on the Willamette River, she and her mother stopped and rested near the Lower Lamber Bar area, where they observed an airplane on one of the sand bars.
After resting, they continued traveling down the river. While paddling in the kayak, she turned towards the sand bar and observed the airplane approaching her.
Shortly after, the front tire of the airplane hit her head and overturned the kayak.
The kayaker sustained a serious broken leg. The airplane was not damaged.
Probable Cause: The pilot’s failure to maintain clearance during takeoff from a person on the ground, who sustained a serious injury as a result of the collision.
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This August 2021 accident report is provided by the National Transportation Safety Board. Published as an educational tool, it is intended to help pilots learn from the misfortunes of others.