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Pilot survives small plane crash in park

Great Smoky Mountains National Park rangers responded to a report of a small plane crash approximately 6 miles west of Clingmans Dome at approximately 11 a.m. on Friday, April 10.

The single occupant of the plane, Georg Kustermann, 47, of Georgia, deployed the plane’s parachute north of Silers Bald and Buckeye Gap. A Tennessee Highway Patrol helicopter unit located Kustermann at 1:06 p.m. The Tennessee Army National Guard extricated him from the site using a hoist operation at approximately 2 p.m. and flew him to the Gatlinburg Pigeon Forge Airport located in Sevierville.

Kustermann did not sustain significant injuries and departed the airport under his own care. Park Rangers received additional assistance from the Blount County Sheriff’s Office, Tennessee Emergency Management Agency, and Sevier County Emergency Management Agency during the initial stage of the search operation. The park will work with the Federal Aviation Administration to complete an accident investigation. No additional details are available at this time.

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