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Four Die in Wash. Plane Crash

November 28, 1999

STEVENSON, Wash. (AP) _ A small float plane crashed into the Columbia River shortly after it left the water, killing all four people on board.

The pilot was believed to be the chairman of the Portland-based Macheezmo Mouse restaurant chain, The Oregonian reported Sunday.

William S. Warren, 48, was traveling with his children after a Thanksgiving gathering, family members told the newspaper.

The small plane, a De Havilland Beaver, dived into the river 45 miles east of Portland, Ore., about 3 p.m. Saturday, landing upside down near the Washington state shoreline, said Lt. Mike Stone of the Coast Guard.

Dive teams retrieved two bodies _ a man believed to be Warren and a child, the Oregonian said. But technical difficulties and inclement weather forced them to delay recovery of the other two bodies until Sunday.

Warren’s three sons, aged 9, 13 and 14, were in the plane with him, the Oregonian said.

The boys and Warren’s 8-year-old daughter lived with their mother in Camas, Wash. The children had been visiting Warren for Thanksgiving and the boys and their father were flying to the family’s summer home in Washington state when the plane crashed, according to the newspaper.

``She will miss them very much,″ said H. Gerald Bidwell, the children’s stepfather. ``Fate can be cruel.″

Warren founded Macheezmo Mouse in 1981 and it zoomed to popularity as a Mexican food chain for the health-conscious. After going public in 1994, the 13-restaurant company faced cutbacks. In late 1995, Warren stepped down as chief executive officer but retained the title of chairman of the board.

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