News & Features

Plane Hits Montana River in Boat Festival; 2 Aboard Rescued

Both people aboard the plane were rescued and no boaters were hurt, authorities said

BIG TIMBER — A single-engine plane clipped a power line Saturday and crashed into the Yellowstone River near the site of a Montana boating festival.

Both people aboard the plane were rescued and no boaters were hurt, authorities said.

The Piper L21B crashed near Big Timber in southern Montana, about 85 miles (136.79 kilometers) west of Billings.

More than 100 people were in boats on the river, part of the annual Yellowstone Boat Float, Sweet Water County sheriff’s spokeswoman Brooke Osen told the Billings Gazette (http://bit.ly/2ttUtaR).

“The majority of floaters had already launched,” Osen said. “Nobody was injured, miraculously.”

It was not immediately clear how close the plane landed to any boat.

A man and a woman in the plane climbed out and were picked up by a civilian boat, Osen said.

She said the man had superficial injuries. The woman’s injuries were worse, Osen said, but she did not provide details.

Their names and conditions have not been released.

Alicia Kline of Livingston said onlookers applauded as the boat brought them ashore.

“I was just like, “I’m so glad you’re alive,” Kline told Yellowstone Newspapers (http://bit.ly/2sZKFCd).

Mimi Nicholas of Billings was near the river and saw the plane coming in low.

“It was pretty scary. I heard the crunch when he hit the lines,” she said.

The severed power line cut electricity to about 275 customers, NorthWestern Energy spokesman Butch Larcombe said.

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