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Montana man released from hospital after long recovery from plane crash

riley stephens.jpg
Posted at 7:41 PM, Feb 03, 2022
and last updated 2022-02-03 21:46:43-05

BILLINGS — It was a happy homecoming Thursday night for a Billings man who nearly died in the fiery crash of a small plane in September 2021.

Riley Stephens walked out of a Salt Lake City hospital two days ago to a whole lot of cheers and celebration more than four months after the crash nearly claimed his life.

His brother Steele wrote on Facebook that Riley beat the odds.

Riley was critically injured in late September in the plane crash that happened just south of Billings.

His parents both died in the crash, but Riley managed to crawl out of the small plane.

He sustained burns to 70 percent of his body and has undergone numerous surgeries over the past four months, with doctors at one point giving him a 50/50 chance of survival.



(SEPTEMBER 27, 2021) Yellowstone County Sheriff Mike Linder confirmed Monday that two people were killed and a third person was injured in a plane crash Sunday evening. Rob and Pam Stephens have been identified as the persons killed. Their son, Riley, was injured.

A statement sent to MTN News late Monday from a member of the family says Riley suffered burns on 70% of his body. He was taken to a burn unit at a hospital in Salt Lake City. Monday he underwent the first of what could be many surgeries. The statement asks for prayers for the entire family.

Montana couple dies in plane crash; son seriously injured

Rob and Pam Stephens were owners of Billings-based Mission Aviation. The company's website says Rob was a pilot for a major airline for 30 years. Riley is a certified flight instructor for the company, like his father. Riley graduated Texas A&M University in 2018, but returned to pursue his aviation career.

Rob (second from left) and Pam (second from right) died in a crash of a small plane near Billings on September 26, 2021. Their son Riley (far right) was seriously injured.
Rob (second from left) and Pam (second from right) died in a crash of a small plane near Billings on September 26, 2021. Their son Riley (far right) was seriously injured.

Linder said the crash near Jellison and Stratton roads happened shortly after 7 p.m.

Linder said the National Transportation Safety Board will investigate the crash. The NTSB and FAA have staff on scene.