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Wisconsin couple survives plane crash in rugged terrain near Aspen

The aircraft went down in a densely wooded area on an extremely steep mountainside after the pilot deployed the built-in parachute.

ASPEN, Colo. —

A Wisconsin couple survived a small plane crash into rugged terrain Monday afternoon near Aspen in Pitkin County, according to the Pitkin County Sheriff's Office (PCSO).

The agency said they received an Aircraft Alert notification from the FAA Tower at the Aspen Pitkin County Airport around 3:30 p.m. Monday indicating an aircraft landing at the airport was in distress. 

Minutes later, it was reported that the aircraft, a 2017 Cirrus SR22T, had crashed approximately five miles northeast of Aspen.

A deputy with PCSO made contact with the aircraft pilot by cell phone and learned that the pilot and another person were on board. Neither was injured.

The pilot reported that the aircraft had crashed into a densely wooded area on an extremely steep mountainside after deploying the aircraft’s built-in parachute. 

The pilot and passenger were sheltering inside the plane but were not equipped to spend the night.

Mountain Rescue Aspen was deployed to rescue the occupants, identified as Tyler and Kristina Noel of Verona Wisconsin.

The rescue involved 31 people many of whom went into the field, using skis, snowshoes, and snowmobiles to find the couple.

They reached them about three hours after the crash and found the plane lodged on a very steep slope amidst a forest of pine trees. The aircraft’s parachute was tangled in the trees and was keeping the aircraft in place, according to rescuers.

They provided the couple with warm clothing and supplies and then assisted them as they began the long trek out from the crash scene around 9 p.m.

The rescue was completed just after midnight Tuesday morning. 

RELATED: Snowmobiler dies after crash in Pitkin County

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