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Crews recover jet that ran off runway at Livingston's Mission Field Airport

Plane Recovery .jpg
Posted at 7:48 PM, Jan 22, 2024
and last updated 2024-01-23 11:32:44-05

LIVINGSTON — Last week, a jet ran off the runway at Mission Field Airport in Livingston, coming to rest in a ravine. On Monday, crews were on hand to pick it up for the reveal that it was stuck. But this cleanup effort was more than just a day on the job for the crew.

“It's unique. You know, our airport out here is not busy,” says Hanser’s Tow Truck Operator Devon Pedersen.

Pedersen has been a tow truck operator for six years with Hanser's, but Monday was his first time towing an aircraft out of a ravine.

“It's a lot different from hooking up a semi and taking it out of a ditch, you know—you don't get this very much out here,” says Pederson.

Crews were on hand at Misson Field in Livingston to tow an aircraft that ran off the runway on Jan. 11. The jet slid 500 feet and ended up in a ravine. Fortunately, the two pilots were able to walk away from the crash. On Monday, crews from Hanser's, a Billings tow truck company, pulled the jet uphill—not the kind of rescue they’re used to.

“It's mostly highway related and, you know, in the city. But people get themselves in a lot of interesting situations,” says co-owner Shel Hanser.

Crews from Hanser's, the airport, and an environmental group were on hand as the jet was slowly dragged up the hill, bringing some brush with it.

“We don’t disrupt the environment any more than we need,” says Hanser.

Shel Hanser has grown up watching cars, semi-trucks, planes, and helicopters get towed. His father founded Hanser's 60 years ago and now he is part owner.

“My dad's 80 and he got out of bed early today to come watch this, so it was kind of a fun deal for him,” says Hanser.

Hanser says his team was able to maneuver the jet in the ravine which posed some challenges, but he says it's similar to towing a semi from the highway.

“Whether it's a truck on the side of the road or a plane like this, everyone's different and unique,” says Hanser.

As Pedersen and the crew snapped videos and pictures of the jet, he says it was a one-of-a-kind day on the job.

“I’d love to do it again. But, you know, I hope I don't have to, but it's kind of you know, I'll just add it to my experience,” says Pedersen.

The jet, which is owned by Royal Air Freight, a luxury charter flight company out of Michigan, will be transported to Colorado where it will be evaluated. The NTSB is still investigating the cause of the crash.