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Men Walk Away From Plane Crash In Yellowstone National Park

Wreckage of a single-engine Piper 180 aircraft rests in the trees in Yellowstone.

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News Release Date: October 12, 2013

National Park Service
U.S. Department of the Interior

Yellowstone National Park
P.O. Box 168
Yellowstone National Park, WY 82190
October 12, 2013         13-090    

Al Nash or Dan Hottle
(307) 344-2015


Men Walk Away From Plane Crash In Yellowstone National Park

Two Alaska men walked away from an airplane crash this morning when their fixed wing, single-engine Piper 180 aircraft went down Friday evening.

The aircraft went down just inside the eastern boundary of Yellowstone National Park, southeast of the East Entrance road near Sylvan Pass. James Betzhold, age 61, and his son Douglas Betzhold, age 25, both from Beluga, Alaska, were en route to Boise, Idaho. The pair had just taken off from Yellowstone Regional Airport in Cody, Wyoming, at approximately 4:00 p.m. on Friday after a refueling stop when the crash occurred.

The Park Country Sheriff's Office 911 Communications Center received the report of an overdue aircraft shortly after midnight. The Park County WY Search and Rescue Unit and Yellowstone National Park rangers began a joint search for the aircraft at first light Saturday morning. Search crews were able to approximate the location of the aircraft through tracking signals from its emergency location transmitter. A Park County Wyoming Search and Rescue aircraft located the wreckage shortly before 9:00 a.m. and was able to confirm that both occupants had survived.

A joint rescue operation was initiated, which included ground units from Yellowstone National Park and Park County Wyoming Search and Rescue. As rescuers began making their way to the site of the crash approximately 1,500 yards south of the East Entrance road, both survivors were observed walking out under their own power. The men sustained bruises, lacerations and possible fractures. Both were transported to West Park Hospital by ambulance.

The exact cause of the crash is as yet undetermined. The investigation has been turned over to the National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) and Federal Aviation Administration (FAA), in coordination with the National Park Service.

- www.nps.gov/yell -

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