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One person dead after plane crashes in Polson

By Andrea Olson, KECI Reporter, aolson@keci.com
Published On: Jun 07 2014 03:12:23 PM MDT
Updated On: Jun 07 2014 11:45:11 PM MDT
MISSOULA, Mont. -

A falling ultra-light style aircraft sent people on the ground scrambling before it slammed into a yard, killing the pilot.

The plane crashed Saturday morning, just after 7 a.m. at the Flathead River RV Resort in Polson, about a quarter mile east of the Polson airport.

Several hours later, authorities released the pilot's name, 62-year-old Cliff Daniels of Rathdrum, Idaho.

He was the only one on board.

Emergency responders say he died on the scene.

The crash was a terrible wake up call for dozens of RV owners parked at the quiet resort.

"Something was not right. Just something told me, there's something wrong going on here," said eyewitness Brian Ross.

Ross was out doing what he does almost every day, walking the dog, when he saw something in the sky that didn't look right.

"His maneuvering was pensive. He wasn't quite sure what the craft was doing, like unsure about it," said Ross.

Ross was one of several neighbors who rushed to the scene.

"The plane do what I like to call a wing over, be a sharp banking with the power on, followed by a large impact sound," said Ross.

The plane missed a house just by a couple of feet.

“It was a big surprise you know, having it happen that close to where I live," said resident Danny Wyatt, who later rushed to the scene.

"He didn't hit anything, which was probably a good thing," said Ross.

Other neighbors didn't see the plane. They were in their RV's either getting ready for work or still sleeping.

“It sounded like someone was speeding through the park and then there was a big boom," said resident Donna Lewis.

"Just really loud, going really fast then all of a sudden, it stopped," said Wyatt.

Neighbors quickly learned that the man in his 60's was killed by the impact.

"Sadness, remorse, I mean I feel bad for the gentleman that passed away," said Wyatt.

"He wasn't breathing, no respiration, no pulse,” said Ross.

A tragic event residents at Flathead River RV know was only feet away from being even worse.

FAA officials are investigating the cause of the crash.