Plane Crash Survivor Credits SPOT Device with Rescue

John Gregory “The engine quit, and I ended up in a tree. By the grace of God, I didn’t fall out of it.”

That is what 79-year-old John Gregory says about April 23, 2019, the day his plane crashed into a tree in a remote part of Idaho.

Mr. Gregory was flying out of his ranch near Challis when something went wrong.

“All you can do in that situation is fly the plane. I did all I could to get things going again,” says John.

He tried to make it to the nearest airport in McCall, but his plane failed, and he wound up in a 60-foot tall tree.

Once the plane came to a stop in the tree, Mr. Gregory activated the S.O.S. button on his SPOT Gen 3 device.

While waiting for rescue crews Mr. Gregory was able to extract himself from the shoulder harnesses, and since the tree did not “spit him out”, he settled into the tree above the snow below.

It took responders about 2 hours to get to the remote scene.

Captain Jason Speer with the Valley County Sheriff’s Office says, “This rescue was aided with the SPOT device. The EPIRB (Emergency Position Indicating Radiobeacon) put the crash 4 miles away, but the SPOT was right on the money. This was the most extreme recovery I have seen in 25 years of law enforcement service.”

With the help of a harness, rescue crews were able to extract Mr. Gregory from the plane and rappel him to safety.

He was taken to the hospital as a precaution but was cleared with no serious medical issues. Mr. Gregory has been a SPOT customer for more than a decade and says, “I’m glad I had it. I use it every day anyway. I can’t think of a better device.”
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