John Carroll and Dan Astin Livingston Enterprise
A Learjet trying to land at Mission Field Airport in Livingston on Thursday morning could not stop and went off the end of the runway, traveled down a grassy, snowy hill, busted through a barbed wire fence, and crashed into a ravine about 100 yards from the airport, sources confirmed Thursday.
Inside the aircraft were two pilots carrying no passengers. Both pilots emerged from the jet and walked toward the airport facility and appeared to be safe, according to Dann Babcox Sr., fire chief at Park County Rural Fire District #1.
“The occupants got out of the plane, out of the ravine and walked up the hill to the central building,” said Babcox. “Livingston Fire and Rescue and the police were called on scene. The Fire Department assessed little to no fire damage.”
Both pilots were transported to the hospital for cautionary measures where they were being assessed for injuries, said Babcox.
The incident and emergency response occurred between 8 a.m. and 9 a.m., per Babcox.
Reached by cellphone, Gabriel Chandler, owner of Yellowstone Air Services, said, “The jet slid off the end of the runway this morning and stopped at the bottom of a ravine,” approximately 100 yards from the runway.
The jet did not crash into any buildings or hangars, confirmed Chandler, and nobody was injured. The aircraft slid to the westside of the airport and into a deep ravine.
“They walked it out. Everybody is OK,” said Chandler.
With icy and snowy conditions prevalent in the area, Chandler said he wasn’t sure if weather was a factor in the accident.
“There’s a little bit of a snow,” Chandler said. “But the weather is good.”
Chandler, also a pilot, said the issue could have been with a “reverse thruster” or “brake failure,” he speculated.
An investigation will follow, per Chandler, involving the National Transportation Safety Board and the Federal Aviation Administration.
Chandler said the pilots had no passengers and were landing in Livingston to pick up clients.
“We’ve had plane incidents before, but not this big,” said Chandler.