Montana Couple Identified as Victims of Billings Plane Crash, Their Son Is Hospitalized With Severe Burns

by Madison Miller

This past Sunday, there was a tragic plane crash that killed two people and left another critically injured in the hospital.

The crash happened in Billings, Montana. Now, the victims of the crash have been made public.

According to The Billings Gazette, the Yellowstone County Sheriff announced Rob and Pam Stephens are the two that were killed in the fiery plane crash. Their plane hit the ground at about 7:30 p.m.

The couple, however, was not alone on the plane. They also had a third passenger, their son Riley. His parents were killed at the scene, but he was transported to a nearby hospital for immediate medical attention.

He managed to survive the terrifying incident but has a long recovery period ahead of him. Riley has severe burns on 70% of his body from the crash. He is now going to undergo some pretty extensive surgeries.

Investigation Regarding Plane Crash

As for the crash and flight itself, there are a lot of unknowns still waiting to be answered. The Stephens were the owners of Mission Aviation, which is a flight school located in the area. This means that they certainly knew what they were doing out in the air. For example, Rob had 30 years of experience as a professional airplane pilot.

It is not currently known who was flying the plane at the time of the crash. According to People, the entire incident is being investigated by the Federal Aviation Administration as well as the National Transportation Safety Board. There is a number of things that can go wrong in the air, despite decades worth of flying experience.

Flying was something that the entire family was passionate about for years.

“Rob embraces the aviation tradition of paying it forward and passing on to the next generation of pilots the accumulated knowledge and wisdom that his experience and the experiences of those that came before him, built into him,” the bio on the site reads.

When it comes to next-generation flying, Rob had started that by instilling his passion in his own son. Riley had also been a flight instructor for the flying school. His biography states that he has been flying since the age of 15.

He went off to school at Texas A&M University but came back to Montana to explore his career in the aviation world. He’s been a flight instructor since the summer of 2020, which was right in the midst of the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic.

Amtrak Derails in Joplin, Montana

The plane crash near Billings wasn’t the only tragedy to happen last weekend in Montana. A cross-country Amtrak train carrying 141 passengers and 16 crew members derailed near the small town of Joplin, Montana, amidst all the expansive farmland.

The Empire Builder train goes from Chicago to Seattle and has two locomotives and 10 cars. When the train derailed, it killed a total of three people and sent many others to the hospital with severe injuries.

Several of the train cars were completely flipped on their sides when help arrived at the scene. As of now, investigators with the National Transportation Safety Board are looking into what could have gone wrong that day.

Excessive speed likely is not a factor for the derailment. The train was going just under the limit when the incident occurred.