Firefighters and utility crews rescued two men trapped inside an ultralight aircraft, 60 feet from the ground, in a tree, south of the French Lick airport Friday evening.
The men 65-year old James Cutler of Winslow a licensed pilot and operator of the the aircraft, as well as passenger, 59-year old Richard Yahraus (YAR-US) of Corydon were not hurt after the plane crashed into the trees just after 5 pm.
Authorities say emergency crews spent about 20 minutes to reach them, in deep woods south of the airport while rescue efforts took an additional 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.
Authorities say it will be up to the plane’s owner to remove the aircraft from the tree.
French Lick fire Department spokesman Jason Hunt says Cutler and Yarhaus appeared to have no life-threatening injuries.
He described the plane as an ultralight with a single engine. Hunt says It had taken off from the airport and was returning when it crashed.
Hunt says residents of the area say they witnessed it trying to gain some elevation, and that it went down back in the wood line.
Orange County Emergency Management Director Rick Emerick says the men sat in the plane for about four hours before their rescue. He says first responders brought in lights and had an emergency medical helicopter on standby.
A news release from the Orange County Sheriff’s Department says the FAA had been contacted and sent to the scene.