MAN DIES IN CURRY PLANE CRASH
September 11, 2001 11:00 pm

By SUSAN SCHELL

AGNESS One man was killed and another escaped with minor injuries after their single engine Cessna 172 crashed Sunday while attempting to land at an air strip 51 miles east of Gold Beach, authorities said.

Pilot Billy Joe Pyatt, of Folsom, Calif., suffered shoulder injuries and his father-in-law and passenger, Hillary Dean Gargile, 47, of Trinity Center died at the scene from head and chest injuries.

According to Curry County Sheriffs Marine Deputy Ted Heath, Pyatt was trying to land the plane at Half Moon Bar Lodge on the Rogue River.

Pyatt had circled the landing area once and reportedly was too high. He then came in on a second approach and was still too high.

He was approaching trees on his left side when he over-corrected, crashing through the trees on the right side of the air strip, Heath said.

Members of the Agness Rescue team were flown in to the remote section of the Rogue River by a private helicopter, where they stabilized Pyatt and flew him back to Agness.

Pyatt was transported to Curry General Hospital in Gold Beach where he was held for observation, treated for a shoulder injury and then released.

The two men were headed for the Half Moon Bar Lodge from Sacramento.

Its a rugged, remote area, accessible only by boat or plane, Heath said.

Its not even an approved landing strip, its just a field with a very narrow entry through the trees. You have to be a pretty experienced pilot to land there, he said.

Investigators attributed the accident to operator error.