ROCK SPRINGS, Wyoming — A Utah pilot, his wife, their two-week-old infant and twin toddlers were rescued after making an emergency landing near Rock Springs, Wyoming, on Monday, officials said.
The man was flying his family back to their home in Heber from Wayne, Nebraska, when they encountered strong headwinds, and the man realized he would not have enough fuel to make it to the next airport, the Sweetwater County Sheriff’s Office said in a news release.
The plane’s engine began to sputter about 5:30 p.m. and died while the plane was about 8,500 feet in the air, sheriff’s officials said. The man immediately began emergency landing procedures and was able to land the aircraft in a snowy field about 3 miles southeast of the Southwest Wyoming Regional Airport.
No one was injured in the landing and the plane was not damaged, but the family was stuck with “no apparent means to escape” the frigid conditions and an estimated wind chill well below zero, the sheriff’s office said.
Deputies responded to a report from airport officials with whom the pilot had been in contact during the emergency landing and quickly identified the plane’s location. They soon realized, however, that it would take several hours to reach the stranded family, so a nearby medical helicopter was diverted to the scene.
Emergency crews were able to successfully evacuate all five family members a little over three hours after the plane went down.
“The dedication, diligence and selflessness of our deputies and staff is humbling,” Sweetwater County Sheriff John Grossnickle said in the news release. “We could not have done it alone. I am sincerely thankful for the cooperative effort by everyone involved.”