Georgia Couple Identified As Passengers In Bighorn Mountains Plane Crash

Friends and family have identified a Georgia couple as the victims of a plane crash which occurred in the Bighorn Mountains last week in northwest Wyoming.

Leo Wolfson

July 19, 20222 min read

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(Cowboy State Daily Staff)

A Georgia couple were victims of the plane crash in the Bighorn Mountains last Thursday, according to relatives of the deceased.

The cause of the crash is still unknown, but friends and family of Charles “Charly” Schell and Kelli Taylor Schell of Hartwell, Ga. have identified the two as being onboard the ill-fated private plane.

Friends say the couple were well known for owning and operating a golf club in Northeast Georgia.

The Johnson County Sheriff’s Office on Sunday morning announced that there were no survivors in a plane crash which occurred Thursday in a remote section of the Bighorn National Forest.

Sheriff Rod Odenbach said a private airplane which was carrying two people departed at noon from the Powell Municipal Airport and was to arrive at the Johnson County Airport but never reached its destination.

Los Angeles resident Estevan Roth said he met and spoke with the couple before they took off from the airport. Roth, a self-described airplane enthusiast, provided Cowboy State Daily a grainy video of Schell’s plane which he took at the Powell Airport before takeoff.

Roth said he was at the airport as he was interested in purchasing a plane.

“They just seemed like a regular couple,” Roth told Cowboy State Daily.

Roth said he was shocked when he found out the news and surprised the plane went down, as Charles Schell was a former Army pilot who owned multiple planes.  

The Schells were flying in a Cessna P201N. Roth said these turbo prop planes are usually more reliable than a typical private airplane because of their ability to fly at a higher altitude. 

The Federal Aviation Administration confirmed a Cessna P201N did go down near Buffalo on July 14 but has not released the names of those involved in the incident.

The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Office was notified of a fire near the Middle Fork of the Rock Creek in Bighorn National Forest and located wreckage from an airplane crash, which is believed to have started the fire.

Temporary flight restrictions have been placed in the airspace 15 nautical miles northwest of Buffalo to provide a safe environment for investigation into the accident, as well as search and rescue, according to the FAA’s flight restriction website. 

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Leo Wolfson

Politics and Government Reporter