Ultra-Light Aircraft Crashes In Badlands National Park, Pilot Rescued Uninjured


      The pilot of an ultra-light aircraft escaped serious injury Thursday after making a forced landing in Badlands National Park near Sheep Mountain Table.

       Pennington County Search and Rescue received the initial report of a missing plane, then began organizing a multi-agency operation that began with a request to Black Hills Life Flight for a helicopter to make an aerial search.

      The chopper spotted a flashing light in a deep ravine and directed the responding agencies to the site. Ground personnel then verified it was the plane and pilot they were looking for and began a rescue operation.

      Pennington County Search and Rescue was able to set up a vertical rescue and lower individuals into and across the 230-foot deep ravine to reach the pilot on the opposite slope.

      A quick medical assessment determined the pilot had not suffered any injuries and he was then lifted out. 

      The pilot told his rescuers he experienced a near perfect storm of problems, starting with the plane running out of fuel and going down.

     The pilot said he then lost contact with his group and was unable to get a usable signal for his cell phone after crashing.

     Badlands National Park rangers coordinated the recovery of the ultralight aircraft on Friday.