Lost Plane Found - KULR-8 Television, Billings, MT

Lost Plane Found

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UPDATE: A spokesperson for the Park County Sheriff's Office says because of avalanche danger they are not able to reach the crashed plane. He says they two brothers who were onboard the plane are presumed dead.

CODY, WYOMING - The wreckage of a small plane crash was found near Yellowstone Monday morning, but rescue teams have not been able to find the pilot, 84-year old Robert Zimmerman of Georgia, or his brother, 86-year old Ward Zimmerman of Seattle. The men were trying to fly over Yellowstone from Cody, Wyoming to Twin Falls, Idaho, when their plane apparently went down almost a week ago.

A blanket of snow is what an all day ground search found Sunday. Deep snow and blizzard conditions, but no airplane. Park County Deputy Lance Matthess explained, “The wind conditions were about fifty miles per hour yesterday. They were walking on top of snow with snowshoes anywhere from three to five feet deep.”

Searchers hiked in and out of the Kitty Creek drainage in the Shoshone National Forest. Yellowstone National Park is nine miles to the west. About four and a half miles up the mountain is the last place the plane was tracked on radar.”

First thing Monday morning, a search and rescue helicopter flew to the site and found where the plane had crashed.

Matthess said, "It appeared to hit the side of a mountain, and it settled into a large ravine. Over this ravine is a large amount of snow in the shape of a cornice.”

That meant severe avalanche danger, which still exists in the snow covered mountains in northwest Wyoming.

Matthess said, "And they performed a test on the snow itself, and determined that the avalanche danger was too great to drop down to the wreckage.”

So, the Air National Guard sent a black hawk helicopter from Cheyenne to the Cody airport.

Matthess explained how they could help, “They have winching capabilities and we’re going to see if it’s going to be possible to winch rescue personnel down to the wreckage to, at the very least, determine the condition of the occupants.”

Matthess said the National Guard told him they will be able to lift their men out of danger if the avalanche releases during their rescue effort.

The Sheriff's office said the Zimmerman's flew out of Cody on a stop over last Tuesday. Their families reported them missing Saturday.

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