Family rescued from plane crash thanks emergency responders

Credit: Eric Turner / KTVB

Family rescued from plane crash thanks emergency responders

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by Justin Corr

Bio | Email | Follow: @JCorrKTVB

KTVB.COM

Posted on October 6, 2012 at 6:04 PM

Updated Thursday, Dec 5 at 4:46 AM

BOISE -- After a plane crash and rescue from the Owyhee Mountains, a California family was back in Idaho today, to say 'thank you' to their rescuers.

Saturday afternoon, Brian Brown, his wife Jayann, and their daughter Heather were having lunch at Idaho Pizza Company with about 50 new friends.

A few months ago, they were all stranded in the Owyhee mountains after their plane crashed.

"From the time I had recognized we were in trouble, to the time of impact was about 30 seconds," said Brian, who was piloting the plane. "It wasn't a lot of time to think about anything except for, we all thought we were truly going to die."

Obviously, they survived. But immediately after the crash, Jayann was unconscious.

Brian said, "I wasn't certain if she was actually going to still be with us."

But, Brian - a firefighter and EMT in the Sacramento, California area - was able to get her awake and alert. Then, everyone worked on trying to find a way to get themselves rescued, preparing for the worst, and hoping for the best.

"It was always, 'We're going to get off this mountain, as long as we stick together.' And, they were very strong," said Brian.

Heather was able to find her phone, incredibly, get a signal, and make a 911 call.

The voice on the other end of that call was Owyhee County Dispatcher Lori Collins.

"It was a search all night long," said Collins. "I could hear them saying, 'We don't see them here. We don't see them here.' This whole time I know the injuries... I'm thinking, 'Oh my gosh! We gotta find these people!'"

After the call, Lori was able to ping the cell phone, and narrow the search area. About six hours later, once the weather subsided, a National Guard Helicopeter flew over, which Brian was able to signal with a strobe on his phone.

"Two minutes later, when I heard, 'We've spotted them!' I was so relieved. I was like, 'Yes!'" said Collins.

The Browns were air-lifted off the mountain soon after. They recovered at Saint Alphonsus, and came back to Idaho on Saturday for a special thank you luncheon for those who helped save their lives.

"It's something that you wouldn't think was liveable," said Jake Gillis, with Idaho Mountain Search and Rescue. "Seeing them now, you'd never guess that they'd gone through something like that."

Those attending the luncheon included members of Idaho Mountain Search and Rescue, Owyhee County Sheriff's Office, the Idaho National Guard, Boise and Nampa Fire, and many more.

"There were seven or eight different agencies there," said Danny Cone, with Idaho Mountain Search and Rescue. "Everybody worked really well together, and had a great outcome."

"This is really nice of them to go through all the trouble and put this together for all the departments involved," said Gillis.

But Brian said, this was the least they could do. "We're all here and alive. And I think it's in large part due to... a lot of divine intervention. And also, a lot of very skilled rescuers."

The Browns were also at a special breakfast with the Nampa Fire Department Saturday morning.

And in case you were wondering, the Browns said they weren't afraid to fly, but did drive up from California.

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