For immediate release: October 11, 2013
French Lick, IN – An ultra-light aircraft crashed just south of the French Lick Airport at 5:09 pm Friday in the 9700 block of W. County Road 375 S. The ultra-light aircraft crashed in a tree near the edge of a cornfield and was wedged in the tree top approximately sixty feet from the ground.
65 year old James Cutler of Winslow, IN is a licensed pilot and was operating the aircraft at the time of the crash and was accompanied by a passenger, 59 year old Richard Yahraus of Corydon. A multiple agency response was needed for the rescue of the occupants.
According to Conservation Officer Jim Hash, their first priority was to secure the aircraft to the tree where it was lodged to make it stable. Once that task was completed Hash said the rescue proceeded smoothly.
Both occupants were harnessed and tethered with ropes and transferred from the aircraft to the bucket of an Orange County REMC bucket truck with a sixty-foot boom.
Richard Yahraus was lowered safely to the ground at 8:56 PM and James Cutler was lowered ten minutes later. There were no injuries to the occupants of the aircraft or the first responders.
The crash is still under investigation by the Orange County Sheriff’s Department and the FAA.
Agencies assisting in the rescue include Orange County Sheriff’s Department, Indiana Conservation Officers, French Lick Police Department, West Baden Police Department, Rural District 1 VFD, French Lick Fire Department, EMA District 8, IU Health Ambulance, Air Methods and the Red Cross. Also the rescue was assisted by heavy equipment provided by David Watts and Gary Goller.
Indiana Conservation Officers Cave Rescue Team responds to vertical rescues and confined space incidents both above and below ground throughout the state.