Rescuers slogged through 5 feet of snow Sunday to pull the bodies of five people from a snowbound airplane that crashed into a remote mountain during a snowstorm.
The rescuers traveled on two helicopters to the rugged crash site on Cuddy Mountain, 20 miles northwest of here, returning with the bodies as the sun set, said Deputy Becky Young, a Washington County sheriff’s dispatcher.
The skies were clear during the recovery Sunday, but rescuers had to dig through the snow to reach the crash victims. “The plane is buried so you can hardly see it, and it’s white all around it,” DeYoung said.
A Boise pilot, a legislative employee and three others were killed when the single-engine Cessna 210 crashed Thursday afternoon.
Deep snows prevented rescuers from reaching the wreckage after it was spotted from a helicopter Friday evening. Washington County sheriff’s deputies reached the crash site on Saturday and found no survivors.
Trudi Bolinder, 58, a pilot for nine years, was flying back to Boise after fetching vacationers stranded in the resort town of McCall by flood-damaged roads. She was making the trip as a favor for a friend.
The Washington County sheriff’s office on Sunday identified the four passengers believed aboard as Susan Kinghorn Hansen, 42, and her daughter, Brenna Hansen, 19, both of Boise; Michelle Nelson, 20, of Boise; and Jeremy Zuck, 38, of Portland.
Hansen was the newly appointed sergeant at arms for the Idaho House of Representatives. Staff members at the state Capitol, busy with preparations for Monday’s opening of the 1997 Legislature, mourned as word spread about the crash.
“She was loved and respected by everyone in the House,” said House Speaker Michael Simpson, R-Blackfoot.
Her daughter, Brenna Hansen, was a student at Utah State University in Logan, where she played on the school soccer team.
Susan Hansen was a friend of Bolinder, the pilot, a mother of eight and grandmother of 22. She was a native of Germany and an avid skier who would fly into the backcountry via helicopter to ski remote mountains.
Bolinder was the wife of Robert Bolinder, a former top executive with Albertson’s, based in Boise, and Smith’s grocery and drug chain based in Salt Lake City. He retired as executive vice president at Smith’s last month.
The couple had kept their permanent residence in Boise and used a condominium in Salt Lake. Trudi Bolinder would often fly the couple back to Idaho on weekends.
Smith’s President Al Rowland, who had known the couple for 20 years, said Bolinder was “full of life” and “very engaging, very warm.”
Nelson was a certified nurses aide at St. Alphonsus Regional Medical Center in Boise.
Washington County Deputy Brian Graham said Sunday that a sheriff’s deputy, two Idaho State Patrol officers and members of the county’s paramedics squad were sent to recover the victims’ remains.
“There’s so much destruction. It’s all together, but it’s just like it was put in a trash compactor,” Deputy Brian Graham said.
Investigators for the National Transportation Safety Board and Federal Aviation Administration had not yet reached the site on Sunday.