CHEYENNE, Wyo. (AP) — A plane crash in Wyoming on Wednesday killed two people about half a mile from the only commercial airport located inside a national park.
The two on board the small, single-engine plane were dead when emergency responders arrived just after noon, Grand Teton National Park officials said. The victims were identified as Russell Kamtz, 67, and Carol Kamtz, 65, of Loveland, Colo. They are survived by their two children.
A witness told the Jackson Hole News & Guide the plane was approaching Jackson Hole Airport from the south when it banked and nose-dived into the ground.
Park spokeswoman Jackie Skaggs said she couldn't confirm whether the plane was approaching or leaving the airport 8 miles north of Jackson.
"That will come out as we get more information from the investigation," she said.
Park officials said the plane was an RV-7, a two-seat, single-engine aircraft that is home-built and classified as experimental. Aurora, Ore.-based Van's Aircraft manufactures the plane kit.
Skaggs said the weather was clear at the time of the crash.
"Our rangers, of course, have begun to look things over and document the scene and secure the scene," she said. The National Transportation Safety Board and the Park Service were investigating.
The Jackson Hole Airport is the busiest in Wyoming and notorious for being somewhat tricky on takeoff and landing because of the mountains nearby.
A similar plane crash killed Wal-Mart heir John Walton in Grand Teton in 2005. Walton, 58, crashed soon after takeoff from the Jackson Hole Airport in a CGS Hawk Arrow II he had recently purchased.
Most accidents associated with the airport happen when planes slide off the runway.
On Dec. 29, 2010, a Boeing 757-200 overshot the runway by 730 feet on landing and plowed into deep snow at the end of the runway. None of the 185 passengers and crew on the flight from Chicago was hurt.
The NTSB blamed that crash on problems with wing flaps that were supposed to slow the plane down, and inadequate monitoring by the captain.