Wednesday, April 16 2014 10:54 PM EDT2014-04-17 02:54:16 GMT
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LOUISVILLE, Ky. (WDRB) -- Firefighters and utility crews rescued two men trapped in an ultralight aircraft, 60 feet from the ground, in a tree, south of the French Lick, Ind., airport Friday evening.
The men were not hurt after the plane crashed into the trees about 5:09 p.m. It took emergency crews about 20 minutes to reach them, deep in woods south of the airport, authorities said. Rescue efforts took another four hours.
The men were talking with rescuers by cell phone, as first responders worked first to stabilize the plane in the trees, then carry out a rescue with a tall, Orange Co. REMC bucket truck to bring them to the ground.
Indiana Conservation Officer Jim Hash, in a news release, identified the pilot as James Cutler, 65, of Winslow, Ind. His passenger was identified as Richard Yahraus, 59, of Corydon, Ind.
It will be up to the plane's owner to remove the aircraft from the tree, authorities said.
"They appear to have no life-threatening injuries. They have no complaints," French Lick Fire Dept. spokesman Jason Hunt said.
He described the plane as an ultralight with a single engine. It had taken off from the airport and was returning when it crashed, Hunt said.
"Residents of the area said they witnessed it trying to gain some elevation, and it went down back in the wood line," Hunt said.
He provided a word picture of the plane, with its flexible wing, stuck in the tree.
"It basically just wedged itself sideways about 60 feet up in a tree back in the woods. It's a fairly stable situation, but obviously the stabilization was a big factor before we could implement any rescue," Hunt said.
The men sat in the plane for about four hours before their rescue. First responders brought in lights and had an emergency medical helicopter on standby, Orange County Emergency Management Director Rick Emerick said.
The FAA had been contacted, the sheriff's dept. said in a news release.