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Plane crash in Grand Teton National Park kills Colorado couple

Shortly after noon Wednesday a small plane crashed into a field of sage brush just south of the Jackson Hole Airport, killing a couple from Colorado.

Grand Teton National Park identified the two victims as Russell and Carol Kamtz of Loveland, Colo. The plane was a small RV-7 aircraft. It is a two-seat, low-wing, single-engine aircraft usually built from a kit.

Jackie Skaggs, public affairs officer for Grand Teton National Park said the cause of the crash is still unknown. She also said the investigation will be carried out by the National Transportation Safety Board. Wednesday evening park rangers and the Teton County coroner investigated the crash site near Spring Gulch Road, covering the plane with a tarp and tent to protect it from rain. Skaggs said the weather conditions were quite different at noon.

“At the time the crash happened we had clear skies and no visibility problems, but as far as other weather situations, I’m not aware of that at this point,” said Skaggs.

Although Grand Teton is the only National Park with a commercial airport within its boundaries, Skaggs said crashes are extremely rare.

“The last time a plane of this type went down in Grand Teton National Park was in 2005,” she said.

That crash on Jun. 27, 2005 involved pilot John Walton, son of Walmart founder Sam Walton. John Walton died when his plane crashed after taking off from the Jackson Hole Airport.

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