A single-engine aircraft crashed near the Laurel airport early Friday afternoon, injuring the pilot.
Robert Wiens, of Billings, suffered a serious cut above his left eye and complained of pain in his wrists and ankles, said Yellowstone County Sheriff's Lt. Mike Linder. Wiens was flown to St. Vincent Healthcare, where a hospital administrator said he was still being evaluated as of 6 p.m. Wiens was alone in the aircraft.
Emergency crews found Wiens conscious and alert upon responding at 2:30 p.m.
Witnesses saw him take off in his Piper Cherokee 160 and then turn the plane around to loop back, Linder said. Engine failure forced Wiens to crash land in a fallow field.
The four-seat plane skidded about 60 feet in a wreck that littered the field with landing gear and other debris. The front end was badly damaged, and blood stained the pilot's seat.
The Federal Aviation Administration will investigate the wreck further.