ROCK SPRINGS, Wyo., Jan. 29, 2019 (Gephardt Daily) — A Heber City family in a single-engine aircraft made an emergency landing Monday night near a desert airport in Wyoming.
The family, whose name has not been released, included a pilot father, his wife, and their 2-year-old twins and 2-week-old infant. They were traveling from Wayne, Neb., on their way home to Utah, when their aircraft — a Piper Archer single-prop-engine fixed-wing airplane — ran low on fuel.
The pilot landed at about 6:30 p.m. in a snow-covered field near the Wyoming Regional Airport, outside of Rock Springs, Wyo.
“Deputies quickly responded to the airport and learned that the aircraft’s pilot had been in contact with aviation authorities, reporting that he successfully landed his Piper Archer single-prop-engine fixed-wing airplane in a snow-covered field near the airport after running low on fuel,” a Facebook statement from the Sweetwater (Wyo.) Sheriff’s Office says.
The pilot refueled in Ogallala, Neb., and intended to refuel again in Rock Springs, the statement said.
“However, they encountered an unexpected strong headwind while flying from Rawlins, WY to Rock Springs, and the pilot soon discovered he would not have enough fuel to make it all the way to the Rock Springs airport.
“At around 5:30 PM, while flying at an altitude of approximately 8,500 feet, the plane’s engine began to sputter and then died, and the pilot immediately initiated emergency landing procedures.”
The statement said that although the no one was injured in the landing and the plane sustained no damage during the emergency maneuver, “winter conditions and frigid temperatures, with an estimated wind chill well below zero, left the family cold and stranded with the aircraft in a remote desert area with no apparent means to escape.”
Deputies determined the plane’s location coordinates as about three miles southeast of the airport, and initiated a rescue operation, the statement says.
“After determining that it would take several hours to reach the stranded party by tracked vehicle, deputies, in coordination with airport personnel, emergency dispatchers and emergency medical services, were able to divert a nearby Intermountain Life
Flight helicopter to assist with the rescue effort.”
An Intermountain LifeFlight crew evacuated all five family members at about 8:45 p.m.
Sweetwater County Sheriff John Grossnickle thanked all involved for their help in finding a creative solution, “to think outside of the box and bring this potentially tragic event to a positive conclusion.”