Crews recount rescue of two brothers whose plane crashed into trees in Skagit Valley

A rescue mission by Snohomish County Search and Rescue returns two brothers in their 70s to safety on Monday. At about 9:30 a.m. Monday, both men were found in the Lake Cavanaugh area. According to the Skagit County Sheriff’s Office, their plane crashed into some trees Sunday night and the two men were able to climb down to safety.

Snohomish County search-and-rescue crews say the Cessna went into the trees with one wing low and one wing high but stopped about five feet away from the ground.

“It never actually hit the ground. So it stopped in the trees, so they were able to hop out and drop down to the ground,” said Ernie Zeller, a rescue tech with Snohomish County SAR.

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Skagit County and WSDOT search crews started the search on Sunday when the Allyn brothers didn’t make their expected return from the Concrete airport to Snohomish.

They picked up a faint beacon, which gave Snohomish crews a starting point for the search Monday morning.

SAR pilot Steve Klett says they heard a call on the radio 20 minutes into their flight on SnoHawk10.

“Fact of the matter is, we came over the lake and just started down into the drainage when we got a radio call on the emergency frequency. A ‘mayday, mayday, mayday.’ My first thought was there must be a search plane in the area that’s in trouble. We never expected to hear from the crashed pilots,” Klett said.

The two men had a handheld radio and contacted searchers Monday, after walking nearly one mile along a creek bed to a clear cut in the woods.

Shortly after, SAR crews located the two men after another pilot and crew chief, Paul Moutray, first spotted someone waving a map.

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KIRO 7 News spoke with Kyle Allyn, one of the men on the plane. The two men are brothers, 78 and 79 years old. Allen thanked the Snohomish County Search and Rescue team that found them on a logging road Monday morning. Allyn said they weren’t injured in any way and were back home with their families in a “matter of a couple hours.”

Allyn said they weren’t going particularly fast when they went into the trees, which accounts for the lack of damage to the plane. Allyn said the reason for the crash was a case of “small plane, big mountain,” and it was too late to turn around. Allyn said he learned his lesson.

The SAR team, most of whom have worked or volunteered with Snohomish County for decades, were also surprised by how well the brothers were doing after the incident.

“They were up, actually up and moving. They told us that we’re fine, there’s no injuries. Not a scratch on them,” Moutray said.