By: Joe Strupp
Daily News’ Natt discovered amid Helicopter WRECKAGE
The body of former Longview, Wash., Daily News publisher Ted Natt ? missing since Aug. 7 ? was found Sept. 18 amid wreckage of his helicopter about 15 miles south of Longview, newspaper executives said.
The Daily News reported that Natt, 58, was found in his Schweitzer 3-100 helicopter at 7:20 a.m. by two hunters looking for elk in a heavily wooded area near Clatskanie, Ore.
“I’ve been living the last six weeks in a state of unreality, hoping he’d be found, yet wishing this wasn’t the ending,” Natt’s daughter, Lori Sue Mattson, told The Daily News. “I’m grateful that he has been found, but I’m still just as devastated.”
Natt had been reported missing a day after he took off alone in the two-seat helicopter from Oysterville, Wash., after attending a memorial service, according to Civil Air Patrol search officials. They said he planned to fly 60 miles back to Longview-Kelso Airport.
Natt’s family reported him missing the following evening, officials said, prompting search teams to begin combing the woods for him.
Rescue crews, who had remained optimistic during a weeklong search, eventually ended the effort Aug. 16 after searchers determined that Natt likely could not have survived more than a week in the woods.
Officials of the Federal Aviation Administration and the National Transportation Safety Board began investigating the crash within hours of the wreckage discovery. A cause has not been determined, but speculation has already surfaced that Natt’s helicopter was likely caught in a windy rainstorm that forced it down.
Natt had served as publisher of The Daily News from 1977 to earlier this year, stepping down when the family-owned paper was sold to Indiana-based Howard Publications several months ago.
Natt’s decision to leave was based, in part, on a dispute over whether to continue his long-running front-page daily column. He said the new ownership did not want a front-page column by the publisher and offered to allow him to continue if it ran inside. He declined.
Under new ownership, the newspaper has seen a number of major changes, including a switch from afternoon to morning publication Sept. 7, a new Sunday edition Sept. 12, and major newsroom renovations.
Daily News Publisher Peter York said newspaper staff members, who had been closely watching the efforts to find Natt, were both relieved to find out what had happened to him and devastated to learn that he had perished.
“There is a sense of closure a little bit.” York said. “People surmised that this is what had happened, but now we have evidence
Natt had more than 20 years of flying experience with fixed-wing aircraft, but had obtained a helicopter license only four months ago, newspaper officials said.
York said a funeral had been scheduled for Sept. 24, and added that some kind of permanent memorial for Natt at the newspaper was being discussed.
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(copyright: Editor & Publisher September 25, 1999) [Caption]