October 16, 2013 | 09:19 AM
Two people, including a Corydon man, were uninjured Friday when their ultra-light aircraft crashed just south of the French Lick Airport.
The crash occurred at 5:09 p.m. in the area of 9764 W. County Road 375 S. when the aircraft crashed in a tree near the edge of a cornfield and was wedged in the tree top approximately 60 feet from the ground.
Licensed pilot James Cutler, 65, of Winslow, was operating the aircraft at the time of the crash, and Richard Yahraus, 59, of Corydon was the passenger. It took a multi-agency effort to rescue the two men.
"The first priority was to secure the aircraft to the tree; the aircraft was lodged but very unstable," Indiana Conservation Officer Jim Hash said. "The rescue went smooth once the aircraft was secured."
Orange County REMC supplied a bucket truck with a 60-foot boom to assist with rescuing the men, who were harnessed and tethered with ropes and transferred from the aircraft to the bucket. Yahraus was lowered safely to the ground at 8:56 p.m., and Cutler was lowered 10 minutes later. Neither was injured, nor were any first responders injured.
Also assisting were Orange County Sheriff's Dept., French Lick Police Dept., West Baden Police Dept., Rural District 1 VFD, French Lick Fire Dept., EMA District 8, IU Health Ambulance, Air Methods and the Red Cross. David Watts and Gary Goller provided heavy equipment that was used.
The crash is still under investigation by the Orange County Sheriff's Dept. and the FAA.
The Indiana Conservation Officers Cave Rescue Team responds to vertical rescues and confined space incidents both above and below ground throughout the state.