KALISPELL, Mont. – Two people who were reported killed in a plane crash on Monday emerged alive from rugged Montana wilderness Wednesday, authorities said.
The two U.S. Forest Service (search) employees reached a highway after making their way on foot through mountains in northwestern Montana, said Denise Germann, a spokeswoman for the Flathead National Forest (search).
The pair turned up one day after both the Flathead County sheriff and the Forest Service had announced their deaths. Three others died in the crash.
"Initially we thought there were no survivors, but now there are two," Germann said.
Jodee Hogg, 23, of Billings, and Matthew Ramige, 29, of Jackson Hole, Wyo., walked away from the crash site and were spotted by a road Wednesday afternoon, Germann said.
Hogg was listed in stable condition at Kalispell Regional Medical Center (search). Ramige was flown to Harborview Medical Center in Seattle for burn treatment.
Flathead County Sheriff Jim Dupont had said Tuesday that it appeared all five people on board the small plane died on impact. The crash also started a fire.
Jim Long, 60, of Kalispell was piloting the plane. Also on board were Ken Good, 58, of Whitefish, an employee of the Flathead National Forest, and Davita Bryant, 32, of Whitefish.
Hogg, Ramige and Bryant were assigned to the Forest Service's Rocky Mountain Station in Fort Collins, Colo., but worked out of the station's office in Ogden, Utah.
"Can you imagine these families?" asked Bob Bryant, father-in-law of Davita Bryant. "They've been told their kids are dead. And now they are resurrected," he said in an interview with The (Kalispell) Daily Inter Lake.
Linda Woods of Whitefish, a friend of one victim and survivor Ramige, said she had helped organize a group to search for survivors but their offer to help was declined Tuesday. "There were 100 people waiting in Whitefish to do this. It's possible we could have been very useful and saved some people some suffering," she told the newspaper.
"Last night, we sat on the couch and cried instead of being out hiking and searching. And we just accepted what we were told," she said.
The plane crashed en route to a grass landing strip at Schafer Meadows Guard Station, near the Middle Fork of the Flathead River in the Great Bear-Bob Marshall Wilderness Complex.
The four workers aboard the plane intended to conduct an annual vegetation inventory and repair telecommunication facilities, Germann said.