Pilot Rescued From Treetop


Image: Valley County Sherriff’s Office

A pilot has been rescued after his Piper Cub crashed and lodged in the top of a tree near McCall, Idaho, on Monday night. The pilot, identified as McCall resident John Gregory, 79, was able to contact 911 after the crash. In addition, the Valley County Sherriff’s Office was contacted by the International Emergency Response Coordination Center (IERCC) regarding the activation of a SPOT locator beacon and by U.S. Airforce Rescue Command after they detected the activation of an unregistered EPIRB near McCall. The Valley County Sherriff’s Office and McCall Fire & EMS made their way to the site via snowmobiles and found the aircraft approximately 60 feet up in the tree.

According to McCall Fire & EMS, two helicopters were dispatched to assist with the rescue but were put on standby due to concerns that the rotor wash would dislodge the aircraft from the treetop. After the rescue team assessed the situation, McCall volunteer firefight Randy Acker, who also owns and operates a hazardous tree removal company in the area, climbed up to rescue Gregory. “He made his way to the top, limbing the tree as he went up,” McCall Fire & EMS said in a statement. “Once at the top, he secured the plane with webbing to the tree top and then made contact with the pilot. Acker was able to get a safety harness on the pilot and then the pilot was belayed down the tree to safety.” Gregory walked away with no injuries.

The cause of the accident has not yet been determined, but it has been reported that the aircraft lost power before the crash. Authorities are asking local residents to stay away from the crash site while they figure out how to get the aircraft down safely.