A Utah couple was rescued after their small plane crashed recently a few miles northeast of Stanley.
About 10 Stanley emergency responders were called to the weather-related crash. A thunderstorm and erratic winds forced the experimental Mini-Cub down, said Sawtooth Search and Rescue co-commander Gary Gadwa. The crash was reported to the Custer County Sheriff’s Office at 1:27 p.m.
Gadwa couldn't release the couple’s names, citing patient privacy. Custer Search and Rescue Coordinator Levi Maydole was in court Monday and didn't return calls by the Messenger's deadline. The man and woman, both in their 50s, were flown to a Boise hospital by air ambulance, Gadwa said. The woman's biggest concern was their dog, a Chihuahua. A volunteer firefighter took the pet to Boise.
The man and woman were bound for the Johnson Creek airstrip, Gadwa said. The man was an experienced pilot. The plane had been built by a friend.
Emergency responders drove up Nip ‘N Tuck Creek Road near Lower Stanley to within 300 yards of the crash site near the Welt Ranch, overlooking Valley Creek, Gadwa said. The couple had climbed out of the wreckage.
“They were very thankful for the help,” said Gadwa. “They were very, very fortunate to survive the crash." The impact destroyed the small plane.
When emergency responders arrived, they pulled the couple away from the wreckage, since aviation fuel was leaking. Fortunately, the highly flammable fuel did not ignite and there was no fire or explosion, Gadwa said.
Dr. Jeff Welker, another search and rescue volunteer and a pilot, contacted the state and federal agencies charged with investigating the crash — the National Transportation Safety Board, Federal Aviation Administration and Idaho Division of Aeronautics.
The plane’s wreckage was visible from Idaho Highway 21, Gadwa said, and many passersby wanted to know details. The fuselage was hauled to a salvage yard a day or two later.
There was great cooperation and rapid response to the wreck from Stanley volunteers who are used to working together efficiently, Gadwa said.