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Sat, Oct 02, 2004

NTSB Issues Preliminary Report On Montana Crash

US Forest Service C206 crashed into mountain, two of five on board miraculously survived

The National Transportation Safety Board has released its preliminary report on the US Forest Service Cessna U206G that crashed into a mountain on its way to a strip at Glacier National Park just a few days ago. All five people on the aircraft were initially declared dead, but the next day two of the passengers walked out of the forest, to the stunned surprise of the search authorities.

Just before the crash, contract pilot Jim Long, 60, had reported that he was "inbound for Schafer," a guard station. Dispatchers lost contact with the aircraft after that, and soon after ground crews found a path of debris nearly 80 feet long. The cockpit and cabin had been completely destroyed by the crash and subsequent fire.

After declaring all passengers dead, two of the passengers, Forest Service employees Jodee Hogg, 23, of Billings (MT) and Matthew Ramige, 29, of Jackson, (WY), emerged from the forest, injured and badly hurt, but alive. The pilot, as well as Ken Good, 58, and Davita Bryant, 32, both from Whitefish (MT), died in the crash.

According to the NTSB preliminary report, there appears to have been no sign of engine or mechanical failure. Weather and the rugged terrain have been mentioned as potential causes for the accident.

FMI: www.ntsb.gov, www.fs.fed.us

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