Yellowstone National Park

Search and rescue team recovers brothers’ bodies near Yellowstone

A search and rescue team has recovered the bodies of two brothers previously missing in an airplane crash near Yellowstone National Park.

The crash, which happened on Howell Mountain at 9,900 feet, was located May 12, but inclement weather and the danger of avalanches kept rescue teams from examining the crash site.

The brothers—84-year-old Robert Zimmerman and 86-year-old Ward Zimmerman— had departed Yellowstone Regional Airport on May 6 in a 1963 Mooney plane, flying over a portion of the Park to Idaho Falls, Idaho. From there, they intended to fly to Seattle, Washington prior to the crash.

From the Billings Gazette:

After family members reported the two brothers missing, the Air Force Rescue Coordination Center, an agency responsible for coordinating land-based federal search and rescue missions, was able to used archived radar data to partially track the flight path of Zimmerman’s aircraft.

They tracked the plane to a point approximately 4.5 miles south of the North Fork Highway at the Buffalo Bill Boy Scout Camp. The location is southeast of an area known as Paradise Valley on the eastern slope of Howell Mountain, just outside Yellowstone National Park.

After search and rescue efforts were called off May 13, the sheriff’s office in Park County, Wyoming bided their time until weather conditions improved. Weather conditions on Monday, May 26, signaled promise for a recovery effort, so a helicopter was dispatched early May 27 to the crash site. Ground conditions were still too unstable for aircraft to land, so the team was lowered onto the site via rope. On site the search and rescue team discovered the brothers in their seats.

About Sean Reichard

Sean Reichard is the editor of Yellowstone Insider and author of Yellowstone Insider For Families 2017.

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