SWEETWATER COUNTY, Wyo. — The Sweetwater County Sheriff’s Office has released more information about an emergency landing that prompted the rescue of a Utah family Monday evening.
According to a news release from the Sheriff’s Office, a family of five were flying from Wayne, Nebraska to their home in Heber, Utah when the plane ran out of fuel a few miles from the Rock Springs airport.
The pilot’s wife and three children—2-year-old twins and a 2-week-old infant—were aboard the aircraft.
The pilot had refueled the plane in Ogallala, Nebraska and intended to refuel once more in Rock Springs, but experienced strong headwind over Wyoming, according to the Sheriff’s Office.
“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 intiated emergency landing procedures,” the news release said.
Deputies received word that the plane had landed successfully in a desert area about three miles southeast of the airport in Rock Springs.
“While no one was injured and the plane sustained no damage during the emergency maneuver, winter conditions and frigid conditions, 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,” the news release said.
Crews in Wyoming determined that trying to reach the family by “tracked vehicle” would take several hours, so they enlisted the help of a nearby medical helicopter to rescue them.
“At approximately 8:45 PM, the Intermountain Life Flight crew successfully evacuated all five aboard the downed plane from the emergency landing site and transported them by helicopter to Memorial Hospital of Sweetwater County for evaluation,” the news release said.