Benton Co. Sheriff's Office
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News Release
Update: Eugene Man Arrested in Connection with Fatal Paraglider Crash (Photo) - 08/31/23

On August 30, 2023, Benton County Sheriff’s Office Detectives arrested Jarrod Karl Kaplan (56) of Eugene, in connection with their investigation of a paraglider crash into the Willamette River on July 1, which caused the death of a 51-year-old Eugene man.

The tandem flight was purchased online with Kaplan, a self-pronounced paragliding instructor.

Further research by detectives determined Kaplan was actually flying northbound over the river, not southbound as originally reported, when he hit a powerline and crash into the river.

Kaplan is charged with Criminal Negligent Homicide and is currently lodged at the Benton County Jail where he is being held until arraignment.

For further information, please contact the Benton County District Attorney’s Office at 541-766-6815.

UPDATE July 2, 2023 - The initial investigation by BCSO determined a 56-year-old male from Eugene was operating his Fenix AirTap Paramotor paraglider when it crashed into the Willamette River.

There was one passenger on board the aircraft when the crash occurred.  The 51-year-old male passenger from Eugene was still underwater when first responders arrived and determined to be deceased.

The two took off from Irish Bend Park, flew north following the direction of the river, and were traveling back when the aircraft crashed into the Willamette River.

Two fishermen on a boat helped rescue the pilot, who was then transported to the Good Samaritan Regional Medical Center in Corvallis by the Linn County Sheriff’s Office.

Impairment is not believed to have been a factor in the crash at this time.  The investigation remains open and anyone with information is encouraged to contact the Benton County Sheriff’s Office Detective Lovik at 541-766-6818.

The National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) with oversight by the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) is further investigating the incident. 

Any further information will be released at the direction of the Benton County District Attorney’s Office.

BCSO would like to thank the Linn County Sheriff’s Office and Halsey Fire Department for assistance with this incident.


CORVALLIS, Ore. – On Saturday, July 1st at about 7:00 a.m., the Benton County Sheriff’s Office (BCSO) was notified about an ultralight aircraft crash in the Willamette River near Peoria, south of Corvallis. 

BCSO is on scene working with the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) and the Linn County Sheriff’s Office during the initial phase of the investigation. 

It is unknown at this time how many occupants are on board the aircraft.

We ask the public to stay clear of the area as first responders continue the investigation and assess the scene for potential hazards to boaters/paddlers.

No additional information is available at this time. An updated news release or social media post will be pushed out as investigators learn more.

Attached Media Files: Fenix_Paraglider.jpg