Huddling together with their 2-year-old and newborn in the remote and frigid Wyoming wilderness, Eric and Dana Hold waited for rescue crews to find their small airplane—a Piper Archer single-prop engine fixed-wing.
The family was flying from Nebraska to Heber City, Utah, on Monday, January 28, when they began battling strong headwinds.
“I thought we had enough fuel. Literally three minutes from the airport, the engine started going out,” Holt told the Deseret News.
Dusk was falling as the plane’s engine sputtered and died while still 8,500 feet above the ground. Eric made an emergency landing in a vacant field, where the windchill was estimated at below zero.
“He said he landed in a flat area and credited the snow for softening the blow, so to speak,” Sweetwater County Corporal Jason Mower Mower told KSL. “He landed in about 6 to 12 inches of snow, so no one was hurt.”
After landing, the Holts were able to contact rescue crews, and Intermountain Life Flight helicopter that was in the area was able to be diverted to pick up the family. The Holts landed at 5:30 p.m. and by 8:45 p.m. they were taken to a hospital to be evaluated.
Dana wrote of the experience on Facebook:
“Eric and I want to emphasize how blessed and grateful we are. God was with us every step of the way and the last 48 hours has been a whirlwind of blessings—too many to name. We are all safe, healthy, and happy at home. Literally, every single factor went as well as it could have. I am so grateful that Eric was able to keep calm and have the presence of mind to land us safely.”