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Ultra-Light Aircraft Crashes Into Tree In French Lick

Last updated on Saturday, October 12, 2013

(FRENCH LICK) - An ultra-light aircraft crashed just south of the French Lick Airport at 5:09 p.m. in the area of 9764 W. County Road 375 S.

The ultra-light aircraft crashed in a tree near the edge of a corn field and was wedged in the tree top approximately sixty feet from the ground.

James Cutler, 65, Winslow, is a licensed pilot and operating the aircraft at the time of the crash. 59-year-old Richard Yahraus, of Corydon, was his passenger. A multiple agency response was needed to rescue the men.

Orange County REMC supplied the most needed piece of equipment, a bucket truck with a sixty foot boom.

According to Conservation Officer Jim Hash, "the first priority was to secure the aircraft to the tree; the aircraft was lodged, but very unstable".

"The rescue went smooth once the aircraft was secured," Hash says.

Both occupants were harnessed and tethered with ropes and transferred from the aircraft to the bucket. Richard Yahraus was lowered safely to the ground at 8:56 p.m. and James Cutler was lowered ten minutes later.

Hash says they were both thankful to have their feet on the ground and pleased with the response from all the agencies.

Neither the men or the rescue workers suffered any injuries.

Agencies assisting in the rescue include Orange County Sheriff's Department, Indiana Conservation Officers, French Lick Police Department, West Baden Police Department, Rural District 1 VFD, French Lick Fire Department, EMA District 8, IU Health Ambulance, Air Methods and the Red Cross. Also the rescue was assisted by heavy equipment provided by David Watts and Gary Goller.

The crash is still under investigation by the Orange County Sheriff's Department and the FAA.

Indiana Conservation Officers Cave Rescue Team responds to vertical rescues and confined space incidents both above and below ground throughout the state.

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