Johnson City Press Tuesday, September 16, 2014
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UPDATE: Names of pilot, passenger released from Holston Mountain plane crash; boy's name withheld

March 19th, 2014 2:10 pm by Staff Reports

UPDATE: Names of pilot, passenger released from Holston Mountain plane crash; boy's name withheld

Aerial view of downed plane provided by Wings Air Rescue (Mountain States Health Alliance contributed photo).

ELIZABETHTON — Authorities have released the names of two of three people injured Tuesday night when their plane crashed into Holston Mountain near the Carter County/Sullivan County line.

The pilot was Scott Miller and his passengers were Andrea Denning and her 15-year-old son, whose name was not released. All three were from Ohio.

Sheriff Chris Mathes provided in the information in a news conference this afternoon.

Keep visiting JohnsonCityPress.com for a full report.

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Earlier update posted at 6:30 a.m.:

ELIZABETHTON — Carter County Sheriff Chris Mathes said the occupants of a small plane that crashed on top of Holston Mountain on Tuesday evening have been rescued and are being treated for their injuries.

Rescue workers used all-terrain vehicles and other equipment to reach the three victims, who were in a very rugged and forested area of the mountain along the ridge at 3,000 feet in elevation. It took several hours to reach the crash site.

The identities of the victims were not yet available. Mathes said the flight originated from Charleston, S.C. on Tuesday and landed at Elizabethton Municipal Airport for fuel

The plane took off from Elizabethton at 6:30 p.m. Tuesday with a destination of Ohio. The plane crashed on the mountain soon after.

One victim was able to call 911.

The crash site was located with the assistance of Wings Air Rescue. The area around the crash was not suitable for the helicopter to land, but the helicopter did provide observation during the rescue.

A rescue effort was quickly mobilized, which included the Carter County Sheriff's Department, the Carter County Rescue Squad, the Stoney Creek Volunteer Fire Department and the U.S. Forest Service.

Mathes said earlier that the rescue attempt was slow going because of the terrain and the extremely dense vegetation. The ATV crews had to continuously chop through the vegetation to reach the site. The effort took several hours.

Two of the victims were in critical condition. One rescue squad members was able to reach the victims on foot a few hours before the rescue teams could reach them. He provided updates on the condition of the victims and provided emergency treatment.

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Earlier update posted at 6:20 a.m.:

Update: Carter County Sheriff Chris Mathes reported early this morning that all of the plane crash victims had been safely rescued.

Mathis said the occupants of the small plane that crashed on top of Holston Mountain on Tuesday evening were being treated for their injuries. Emergency crews from Sullivan and Carter counties responded to the crash site, which lies near two counties' border.

Emergency personnel said two of the three victims were in critical condition Tuesday night. Authorities had trouble reaching the crash site because of the wooded terrain, and a medical helicopter could not land in the area. 

Keep visiting JohnsonCityPress.com for more details.

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Earlier update posted Tuesday night:

Emergency personnel said two of the three victims of a plane crash on Holston Mountain are in critical condition, and that it will take about two hours before rescue workers will be able to reach them.

On Tuesday evening, emergency crews from Sullivan and Carter counties began responding to the reported crash site, which lies near the counties' border. 

According to Terry Arnold, director of Carter County Emergency and Rescue Squads, rescue efforts were stymied because of a combination of rough terrain and a lack of a clear path to the victims.

"It's extremely rough terrain," Arnold said. "We're having to chop our way in."

Mountain States Health Alliance's Wings Air Rescue also responded to the scene, though, according to Shane O'Hare, MSHA's director of communications and marketing, they were unable to land.

"Wings cannot land in the crash site because it’s sitting on the ridge of the mountain," O'Hare said. "So they set up a base at Unaka High School, and Carter County EMS is really heading up the rescue."

Even though Wings could not land, O'Hare said they were able to make a report on the state of the crash victims. O'Hare said crews saw "two people walking around the crash site," and believed the third person was still inside the plane. 

That information would later be refuted, however, after CCERS medic James Heaton managed to make his way to the crash site and attend on the victims.

Arnold said two people inside the plane — a man and a woman — were in critical condition, but both were responsive. He said he would like to get them off the mountain as soon as possible.

"As time goes on, their conditions will deteriorate," Arnold said.

Carter County Sheriff Chris Mathes said he and his deputies, along with Carter County Emergency and Rescue Squad, also began coordinating their rescue efforts from UHS. 

Look for more details in Wednesday's edition of the Press.

REPORTED EARLIER:

Emergency crews from Carter and Sullivan counties are responding to the area of Holston Mountain after receiving reports of a plane crash in the area of Panhandle Road.

Carter County Sheriff Chris Mathes said he, his deputies and emergency personnel with Carter County Emergency and Rescue Squad began coordinating their efforts from Unaka High School. The command post later moved further up Panhandle Road to get closer to the scene.

Mathes added that as many as three people may have been aboard the plane when it crashed on the mountain.

Sullivan County emergency workers are also responding to the scene.

Check back here for more details on this story as they emerge.

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