Q2 Morning Email Newsletter

Feb 6, 2012 10:36 AM by Tara Oster

Kalispell plane crash investigation underway

KALISPELL - An investigation into Saturday afternoon's plane crash in Kalispell is underway with federal transportation officials trying to determine what caused a small plane to crash shortly after taking off from the city airport.

The male pilot and two female passengers all walked away with minor injuries after the aircraft crashed upside down into a house on Golden Eye Court.

"You're thinking you're going to have some fatalities, but everyone was good," eyewitness Kim Sams said.

"We started digging into the side of the plane, and a couple of dogs came out first. And then we heard some muffling noises. We dug a little further and there was a passenger hanging upside down. She said 'get me out of here,' and that's what we did," Gary Sams added.

The details surrounding the weekend crash are still limited, but Kalispell Fire Chief Dave Dedman says it appears the pilot had taken off from the Kalispell City Airport airstrip Saturday afternoon and then crashed into a nearby neighborhood on the other side of Airport Road.

Witnesses say the pilot and the other female passenger exited the aircraft through the house while the homeowner was upstairs when the plane hit the house and was not hurt.

The homeowner helped rescue the passengers from the wreckage and the people on board the plane refused medical treatment on scene and only suffered minor cuts and bruises.

Experienced law enforcement and rescue personnel told us that Saturday's incident made for a remarkable story.

"It's pretty amazing actually, if you look at the amount of damage. How they were able to self-extricate from that plane and walk away. I don't understand how they did that, but luckily they did," Dedman told us.

Chief Dedman says the Federal Aviation Administration and the National Transportation Safety Board will review the evidence in the case and that could last for several months.

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