No injuries after plane crashes on Missouri River sandbar near Townsend

Posted at 10:19 AM, Jan 17, 2019
and last updated 2019-01-17 12:19:33-05

HELENA – The pilot of a plane that crashed into a Missouri River sandbar outside Townsend is not injured and was picked up from the scene in a different plane flown by his brother.

According to Sheriff Wynn Meehan, reports of the crash came in around 4 p.m. Wednesday.

Sheriff Meehan said when emergency crews arrived, the plane was upside down on its top on a sandbar in the river.

“All that it was is he was trying to land on that gravel bar down there, and he basically hit the soft sand, and sunk, and tipped him over on top,” said Meehan. “For the most part, the plane’s really not in that bad of shape.”

But because the plane’s support mechanism is bent, the National Transportation Safety Board is classifying the incident as a crash.

According to Meehan, deputies had a hard time reaching the scene simply because of the location in the middle of the river.

That’s why he was shocked to learn the pilot’s brother was picking him up.

“All of a sudden here comes the plane, and he comes in and does a fly around, and he kinda lands on that island, and I go, ‘Oh my Lord,’” said Meehan. “So they loaded him up and his gear and took off, and it was quite interesting.”

Meehan said deputies took photos and GPS coordinates to help the National Transportation Safety Board with an investigation.

This is the second plane crash to happen in the area in just 14 days. According to Meehan, the crash on January 2 happened about a mile away from Wednesday’s crash scene.

“It’s just odd, and I don’t know why,” said Meehan. “I’m not sure if people have always wanted to fly near the river, but I wish they’d stay off of it ‘cause they’re not having good success.”

The sheriff said the pilot has made arrangements to have the plane removed from the river.

-Reported by Evelyn Schultz/MTN News