Adverse conditions affecting recovery efforts at plane crash site
by Sweetwater County Sheriff's Office
May 20, 2011
ROCK SPRINGS, WYOMING - May 20, 2011 - Severe weather and road conditions are hampering efforts to recover the bodies of two Colorado men killed in a light plane crash on May 18.
According to Sweetwater County Sheriff Rich Haskell, after searchers located the downed aircraft around 12:15 PM on May 19, it became clear special equipment would be needed to extract the bodies of pilot Gilmer Mickey, 55, and his passenger, 55-year-old Bob Albert. The two took off from Pinedale on the morning of May 18 and crashed in northern Sweetwater County.
Haskell said nearly every Sheriff’s Office and Search & Rescue vehicle involved in the operation became badly stuck in the snow and mud. Ultimately, two chained-up County Road & Bridge graders and a tracked bulldozer were used to extract the worse cases.
A number of Sheriff’s Office, Coroner’s Office, and Search & Rescue personnel were obliged to spend the night at the scene. Several were able to make it out around daybreak, and others not for hours later.
Haskell said plans have been prepared to return to the site with the required equipment Saturday or Sunday, depending on conditions. He emphasized in the strongest possible terms that people not attempt to reach the area, which is in the Oregon Buttes - Continental Peak region near the Fremont County line, due to mud and snow conditions. "It’s very dangerous up there right now," he said. "We want to avoid any additional mishaps or people being put at risk."
Federal investigators from the National Transportation Safety Board and the Federal Aviation Administration arrived in Rock Springs on Friday and met with county officials.
The cause of the crash remains unknown as of press time.