OWYHEE COUNTY, Idaho -- Owyhee County Sheriff Daryl Crandall says three people are alive, and in "surprisingly good condition," after their Cessna crashed in a remote area of Owyhee County.
The Idaho Transportation Department said the 1966 Cessna 172 took off from Sacramento, Calif. and was en route to Mountain Home, Idaho. Crandall said the plane crashed on a cliff at about 12:08 a.m. Sunday, approximately one to two miles southeast of Silver City.
After the plane crashed, one of the three passengers on-board used a cell phone to call 911, and reached the Owyhee County Sheriff's Office early Sunday morning. Air ambulances searched early Sunday, but had difficulty seeing the terrain, as it was still dark. Crandall said he tried to send in ground crews, but they had to turn back because of blizzard-like conditions.
The Owyhee County Posse, Air St. Luke's, Life Flight, Nampa Fire and Rescue, Idaho Mountain Search and Rescue and the Idaho Army National Guard all participated in the search and rescue effort.
Responding personnel encountered 5' to 6’ snow drifts in very challenging terrain, including slopes of approximately 60 degrees of incline. Once responders reached the survivors, they wrapped them in blankets and built a fire while they awaited airlift from the site.
The Idaho Army National Guard UH-72 used its hoist to recover all three survivors, one at a time. By early Sunday afternoon, all three had been safely transported to Saint Alphonsus. They were listed in stable condition.
Authorities identified the three as Brian Brown of Wilton, Calif., his wife Jayann Brown, and their daughter, Heather. The passenger who used the cell phone to call 911 said one of them had minor head and laceration injuries and the two others suffered back and neck injuries.