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One person died Thursday in a plane crash in the Madison Range near the border of the Lee Metcalf Wilderness, east of Ennis. Two other people survived.

Madison County Sheriff Phil Fortner said a passenger in the plane reported the incident at 10:44 a.m., Thursday. A Madison County Search and Rescue ground team found the scene of the wreck between Ennis and Big Sky just before 3 p.m.

The person was pronounced dead at the scene. Fortner declined to release the person’s name.

The cause of the crash is under investigation

Two other people were injured in the wreck and taken by helicopters to hospitals in Bozeman and Idaho Falls, Idaho. Their conditions were unknown Friday.

Fortner declined to release any information on who was flying the plane and where they resided. The flight was headed from Helena to Jackson Hole, Wyoming.

Fortner said it was initially unclear where the wreck was located. A crew in a medical helicopter searched the area of where the passenger’s call came from but were unable to find the plane.

By early Thursday afternoon, helicopters from Gallatin County and Two Bear Air Rescue, based in Flathead County, were looking for the crash site. Fortner said a fixed-wing airplane was overhead searching, as well.

Later in the afternoon, Fortner said, Madison search and rescue members on the ground found the wreck and guided medical helicopters to the spot. He said the crash site was close to where the GPS coordinates pinned the passenger’s call to law enforcement.

“A lot of time those aren’t real accurate, but that’s where it ended up being,” Fortner said.

Fortner said the plane is still at the crash site, and that aviation officials will be making plans to have the plane removed.

In an emailed statement on Thursday, Allen Kenitzer, spokesman for the Federal Aviation Administration, said the plane “is presumed to have crashed under unknown circumstances” in mountainous terrain. FAA and the National Transportation Safety Board will investigate the wreck.

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Freddy Monares can be reached at or at 406-582-2630.

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