Four killed after plane crashes, catches fire in Idaho; man from Park City among the victims

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A plane crash near Diamond-D Ranch in Custer County, Idaho. Image courtesy Custer County Sheriff's Office.

A plane crash near Diamond-D Ranch in Custer County, Idaho. Image courtesy Custer County Sheriff’s Office.

CUSTER COUNTY, Idaho – Three engineers traveling to assess a possible job and the owner of the ranch they were visiting were killed Friday when a plane crashed in Custer County, Idaho.

According to a press release from Custer County Search and Rescue, the men have been identified as 70-year-old John H. Short of Park City, who owned the plane; 46-year-old of Andrew D. Tyson of Teton County, Idaho; 34-year-od Russell T. Cheney of Teton County, Idaho; and 39-year-old Aaron J. “A.J.” Linnell of Teton County, Idaho.

The FAA received an emergency locator transmitter activation from an aircraft Friday around 1 p.m. in the area of the Loon Creek drainage above the Diamond-D Ranch, which is located in Custer County, Idaho. Caretakers at the ranch investigated and found a single engine aircraft at the north end of the Loon Creek air strip, and the plane had crashed and then caught fire.

Crews said the fuselage of the plane had been burned away and all that remained was the tail section and wings. Search and rescue personnel were notified of the crash around 4:25 p.m. Friday, and with night approaching the team was put on standby until Saturday morning.

The investigation team was flown out to the crash site the next day, where they recovered the bodies and transported them to Challis Airport. The deceased were identified by friends and family.

According to the press release, Short owns the Diamond-D Ranch as well as the Cessna T210M that crashed, and he was shuttling a team of three engineers from Creative Energies– which is a solar power provider based in Victor, Idaho—to Diamond-D Ranch to assess a possible job installation.

Tyson is the founder and co-owner of the company, Cheny did sales and marketing and Linnell was the project manager for the company, according to the press release. The men had landed at the Loon Creek airstrip Friday morning and spent about two hours assessing the job site. They boarded the plane around 1 p.m., and shortly after the emergency locator transmitter was activated.

“All of us at Creative Energies are reeling from the tragic deaths of our colleagues Rusty Cheney, AJ Linnell, and Andy Tyson,” company co-owner Toby Schmidt said in a press release. “As a small, values-driven company we are more than just work colleagues, we are a community of close friend[s] working toward a common purpose. We are coming together in support of these men’s families and will continue to do so for the long haul.”

The FAA is currently investigating the crash, and so far authorities have not offered any information about what may have caused the plane to crash. FOX 13 News will have more information as it becomes available.

4 comments

  • bob

    It wouldn’t surprise me if the cause wasn’t simply that the plane was overloaded. Loon Creek is a very small, unimproved strip. Just a clearing in the sagebrush, actually. Fairly rough and short. Four men plus their stuff……it would take a very powerful, dedicated STOL aircraft to fly out of there with any margin for error.

    • bob

      The FAA considers it an “improved airstrip”, but that only means somebody cut down the bushes. YouTube videos of landings show the real conditions.

    • bob

      As of November of 2012, Mr. Short owned a 1977 Cessna T-210M. A 6-seat, 300 horsepower aircraft. Certainly big and powerful enough to handle the load, but not necessarily so on a rough airstrip. Factor in altitude and the roughness of the airstrip and you add quite a bit of distance to the required takeoff run.

  • truth

    Nice research Bob, factor in the contract waiver signed, lawsuits for damage collateral may not hold up in court. That’s if any waivers where signed. Transportation fees where payed, so suit is entitled for family’s of victim’s being transported without waivers.

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