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Victims called control tower before deadly plane crash

GRAND TETON NATIONAL PARK, Wyo. - Authorities have released more information about the plane crash south of Jackson Hole Airport on Tuesday.

The occupants of the aircraft, Russell and Carol Kamtz of Loveland, Colo., had flown from Montana to the Jackson Hole Airport, where they refueled. They spent 15 minutes on the ground.

The Kamtzes then took off to the north of the runway and climbed to about 400 feet before turning south. At that time, they made a call to the airport control tower that they were having a problem with their aircraft and were returning to the airport, according to a news release from Grand Teton National Park.

Witnesses said one of the aircraft's wings dipped as it was turning to the west. Witnesses also said the nose of the plane dove toward the ground, and the aircraft descended in a near vertical position before impact. Witnesses said they did not see flames when the aircraft crashed into the open sagebrush flats about 3/4 mile south of the Jackson Hole Airport.

The plane was an RV-7, a two-seat, low-wing, single-engine aircraft usually built from a kit. Air Safety Investigator Zoë Keliher of the National Transportation Safety Board has not determined whether the Kamtzes had assembled the plane themselves.

Keliher and two assistants are gathering evidence at the crash site and wreckage, the park said. They are investigating the wreckage, crash site and weather conditions at the time of the crash. They are also reassembling the RV-7 to review mechanical evidence.

Keliher is asking that anyone with information about this crash to call her at (208) 352-0235.

More details will be released when the investigation concludes.

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