[Editor’s Note: We recently received this story out of Tennessee Wing CAP. Thank you for your contribution. On the CAP News website, the CAP National Radar Analysis Team claimed to have found the crash site, then led the Tennessee Army National Guard (TN ANG) to the scene. External media sources stated the TN ANG found the wreckage by helicopter. “Very close” is Not a Find. This story appears to confirm a pattern for CAP to take credit for work with minimal involvement.]
GREAT SMOKY MOUNTAINS NATIONAL PARK – UPDATE, WEDNESDAY 6:15 p.m.: A rescue team has recovered the bodies of three victims who died in a single engine plane crash in Great Smoky Mountain National Park.
Park officials said the park’s technical rescue team along with a Tennessee Army National Guard helicopter extricated the bodies from the wreckage of the Cessna 182 around 5 p.m. Wednesday.
The identities of the three people have not been officially confirmed. The three occupants of the plane had earlier been identified as 41-year-old David Starling, his 8-year-old son Hunter Starling and 42-year-old Kim Smith, from the Jacksonville, Fla, area.
UPDATE, WEDNESDAY 4:45 p.m.: A team of rangers from the National Park Service and Tennessee State Parks set off early in the morning to hike off trail through the Smokies to the plane crash site.
The steep climb to the remote area where the plane went down made for a difficult hike.
“It’s not easy going. With a crew of nine people it will definitely be difficult for them to make it through those dense areas,” said GSMNP spokesperson Jamie Sanders…
UPDATE, WEDNESDAY 10:45 a.m.: Search and rescue teams and Tennessee Army National Guard aircraft began recovery efforts Wednesday morning of the three victims of a single-engine airplane that went down in Great Smoky Mountains National Park late Monday afternoon.
The plane was found by a Blackhawk helicopter from the 1-230th Tennessee Army National Guard around 4:45 p.m. Tuesday on a ridge between Cole Creek and Bearpen Hollow Branch.
“The plane is positioned on a very steep mountain side and could be at risk of sliding further down into the drainage,” GSMNP Chief Ranger Steve Kloster said in a statement. “These search and rescue personnel specialize in high angle rescues and have the best knowledge in making sure we conduct our operations in the safest manner possible.”
The National Park Service will evaluate options for removing the plane at a later date, officials said.
A technical rescue team from GSMNP is working to extract the victims by helicopter, according to a news release from the park.
Experts from Big South Fork National Recreation Area, Obed National Scene River and Tennessee State Parks are helping to secure the plane wreckage and extracting the victims from the “steep and heavily wooded terrain,” the release said.
UPDATE, TUESDAY 6:45 p.m.: …A Blackhawk helicopter from the 1-230th was flying along the last known flight path of the plane late Tuesday afternoon when it spotted the wreckage.
The wreckage was found “very close” to the Civil Air Patrol’s last radar detection, said Lt Col John Henderson, vice commander of CAP’s National Radar Analysis Team.
The National Park Service, the Air Force Rescue Coordination Center, Civil Air Patrol, Federal Aviation Administration and Tennessee Emergency Management Agency all assisted in the search…
PREVIOUS STORY: …Officials said the Civil Air Patrol conducted an aerial recon flight late Monday to try and locate the plane using its emergency locator transmitter, but couldn’t find any transmissions from the aircraft.
The park is coordinating with the Tennessee Emergency Management Agency to do a reconnaissance flight over the search area, once weather allows.
No evidence of the plane has been found within the national park.
Follow Up Written by CAP HQ Staff, December 28 2016:
The Tennessee National Guard was able to locate a crashed Cessna 182 with three people aboard Tuesday in Great Smoky Mountains National Park AFTER Civil Air Patrol’s National Radar Analysis Team directed searchers to an area very near the site…
The radar analysis team members working the mission – Lt Cols John Henderson and Mark Young and 2nd Lt Joe Ashworth – arrived at a probable crash location within 30 minutes, using team-developed software members. Collaborating closely with not only team members but also AFRCC search and rescue controllers, CAP’s National Cell Phone Forensics Team and the Tennessee Wing’s incident commander using the Mission Chat System “allowed us to quickly gather and disseminate time-critical information, to try to get searchers to the crash site as quickly as possible,” said Henderson, vice commander of the team
“They found the crash site about 300 feet from our last radar hit,” he said.
The mission was the radar team’s 62nd search and rescue mission of the year, resulting in credit for 39 finds and three saves, Henderson said.