NewsMontana and Regional News


NTSB: Rosebud County plane crash victims were hunting coyotes

Posted at 1:17 PM, Jun 07, 2024

BILLINGS - The two victims in a May plane crash in Forsyth were hunting coyotes from the air before colliding into a hill, according to a preliminary report from the National Transportation Safety Board.

The report, obtained by MTN News on Thursday, outlines details of the May 14 crash of a Piper PA-18 that killed Miles City residents Dave Hartman, 65 years old, and Haiden Oakland, 19.

According to the report, the plane was overseeing predators on the Cross Four ranch in Rosebud County. A county trapper on the ground, who was communicating with the pilot by cell phone, reported two coyotes were shot and killed, and a third was spotted.

The trapper lost contact with the plane and tried to re-establish without success, according to the report.

A cattle foreman, who was driving in the area, saw the plane go down and reported it to law enforcement.

The examination of the crash site showed the plane had hit a hill at an "extremely nose-low altitude," according to the report.

The report did not make clear who was the pilot of the plane.

All major components remained secured to the airplane. No visible ground scars were observed surrounding the wreckage. The airplane sustained substantial damage to the engine mounts, forward fuselage and both wings.