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STATEMENT
USDA Forest Service
Washington, D.C.
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Release No. FS-025a

Contact:

Heidi Valetkevitch, (202) 205-1089

by
USDA Forest Service Chief Dale Bosworth
Forest Service Plane Crash in Great Bear Wilderness, Mont.
Sept. 23, 2004


On Sept. 20, 2004, a flight carrying four Forest Service employees and a charter contractor pilot headed for the Schafer Meadows Guard Station in the Bob Marshall Wilderness crashed in the Great Bear Wilderness, Flathead National Forest, near Great Northern Mountain in northwestern Montana. Originally no one was believed to have survived the crash, according to the Flathead County Sheriff’s Office. It was learned yesterday that two people survived the crash while three others perished. A statement by USDA Forest Chief Bosworth follows:

“It is with great joy to learn there are two survivors who miraculously braved rugged backcountry to hike their way from the wreckage despite sustaining serious injuries. Jodee L. Hogg, a forestry technician from Billings, Mont., who works for the Forest Service’s Rocky Mountain Research Station, based in Ogden, Utah, is recovering at Kalispell Regional Hospital. Matthew Ramige, of Jackson Hole, Wyo., and a forest technician with the Utah research station, is being treated at the Harborview Hospital in Seattle. We at the Forest Service wish them each a speedy recovery and are so grateful that they are here with us today.

“I am deeply saddened that three people tragically lost their lives in the same accident. My heartfelt sympathy goes out to the family, friends and loved ones of pilot Jim Long, who was employed by Edwards Jet Center of Kalispell, Mont., and Forest Service employees Ken Good, a forest electronics technician with the Flathead National Forest from Kalispell, Mont., and Davita Bryant an ecologist with the Rocky Mountain Research Station from Whitefish, Mont. Our hearts are with our former colleagues and Mr. Long. The Forest Service family is in great sorrow for the loss of these individuals. In their memory, Agriculture Secretary Ann M. Veneman yesterday ordered all USDA flags to be flown at half-staff for three days.

“In addition to the National Transportation Safety Board, the Forest Service has begun its own investigation into what caused the single engine Cessna 206 to crash. In the meantime, my sympathies are with the victims’ families during this terribly difficult time and my thoughts are with the brave survivors in their roads to recovery.”


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