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Rescuer explains how he got a pilot out of a 60 foot tree

Posted: 10:36 PM, Apr 24, 2019
Updated: 2019-04-25 09:31:01Z

The rescue of a pilot who crashed into the trees near McCall is a story of remarkable luck.

First, the plane miraculously got caught on the top of a tree and didn't smash into the ground.

And second, the McCall Fire Department had the perfect man to get the pilot down.

The rescue of a pilot who crashed into the trees near McCall is a story of remarkable luck.
First, the plane miraculously got caught on the top of a tree and didn't smash into the ground.
And second, the McCall Fire Department had the perfect man to get the pilot down.
From the ground, the plane looked like a wayward toy caught in a tree. But that was a real plane up there.
"i've never seen anything like this happen." says Fireman Randy Acker.
The Piper Cub appears to have lost power Monday night.
"He told me the prop wasn't spinning when he hit the tree." says Acker
So it was the pilot's good luck that Acker was on the job. He and a crew of fellow firefighters from mccall snowmobiled to the crash site. As a long time tree trimmer, Acker was still astounded on first sight.
"Wow! What's holding it up there?" he wonders.
Turns out the plane's wing strut somehow wrapped around the tree.
"It looks like it's ready to fall, but actually it's pretty secure." explains Acker.
Back country pilots we talked to say the piper is good plane if you have to ditch into trees. It's got a metal tube fuselage that's very strong. And under full flaps, it can fly extremely slow without stalling.
And of course there's Acker, who clipped the pilot into a harness and helped lower him unharmed to the ground. Now they just have to figure out how to get the plane down too.
Acker says he's been asked to climb the tree again to put straps on the plane so it can be carried away by a helicopter.