Plane crashes are surprisingly pretty common in the Great Smokey Mountains National Park. In fact, there are several old crash sites that are within hiking distance from the Appalachian Trail, where you can find bits of wreckage.
Most people don’t survive the impacts into these high mountains along the Tennessee-North Carolina border, but a few do make it out alive. Two of these survivors were Quentin Tallent, of Alcoa and his cousin, J. Dan Toomey. In August 1956, the two of them had rented an Aeronca trainer for a quick flight into the mountains. Toomey was piloting the plane, and stalled it into the trees in a 4000 foot high valley near Clingman’s Dome.
The two managed to get out of the wrecked airplane and hike down to the old Wonderland Hotel in Elkmont for help. Although scratched and bruised, they were otherwise unhurt.