CASPER (WNE) – Two people died Thursday when a small plane crashed in the Bighorn National Forest, the Johnson County Sheriff’s Office reported Sunday.
The plane went down en route to Buffalo from Powell. It ignited a wildfire that, as of Friday afternoon, had burned about an acre of forest near Willow Park Reservoir, according to the U.S. Forest Service.
The aircraft departed Powell Municipal Airport at about noon Thursday. The following day, the Johnson County Sheriff’s Office learned from air traffic control in Salt Lake City that the plane was missing with two people on board.
The same day, the forest service notified the sheriff’s office that firefighters had located the wreckage of a plane while responding to a fire in a remote area of the Bighorn National Forest northwest of Buffalo, the sheriff’s office said. They determined there were no survivors and that the occupants’ remains were not identifiable.
On Saturday, a team set out to find the wreckage on foot. They found the crash site at 9:30 a.m., about four hours after leaving from Buffalo, said the sheriff’s office.
The team confirmed that there were no survivors. The aircraft did not have any identifiable markings, the sheriff’s office reported.
A search team — which included members of the sheriff’s office, the forest service and Johnson County’s search and rescue and coroner’s offices — transported the remains back to Buffalo.
There was no immediate update on the size of the fire, which is burning on the Powder River Ranger District. Local forest fire crews were being assisted by smokejumpers based in West Yellowstone, Montana and the Wyoming state helicopter.
The cause of the crash remains under investigation.