Who would have a thought a 70’s song used as a ringtone would the one thing that could inspire hope in a desperate situation? That’s exactly what happened when the song “Dancing Queen” by 70’s rock group ABBA began singing out on a lonely Idaho mountainside.
Just before the plane crashed, Brian Brown told his wife and daughter that he was sorry because he didn’t think they were going to make it. The family had left their home in Wilton, CA to visit daughter Tabitha Howell who lives in Mountain Home, Idaho with Brian piloting the plane.
They ran into bad weather in Idaho. The engine stalled and Brian realized he wouldn’t be able to clear the mountain ridge ahead of them. He pulled the nose of the Cessna 172 up so they would hit belly first.
Jayann Brown, Brian’s wife was the first to regain consciousness. She assessed their situation and gave thanks that she and her family had survived. However, the little group was stranded on an Idaho mountain, in the wilderness and bitter cold.
The couple’s daughter, Heather, acting on instinct, gave her parents the blanket she had brought on the trip. She had been cold that morning and carried it on board. Realizing that both her parents had head injuries and they needed the warmth more than she did, she passed it to them.
Not much later, the trio heard a voice singing out of the night. It was the refrain from the popular song, “You are the dancing queen, young and sweet, only seventeen…” and their hearts were immediately lifted.
Brian knew it was virtually impossible to get a cell phone signal in the mountains but somehow, that ringtone got through. They would later learn the call had come from Tabitha who was calling to check on them.
Heather called 911 and gave them information they could use to search for the family. Later, the family used a strobe light feature on that phone to help the rescue workers find them.
It took National Guard rescuers more than 15 hours to make their way to the family. They battled 60-degrees slopes, whiteout conditions and six-foot snow drifts to get there. The family received blankets and the rescuers built a fire until a military helicopter could lift them out of there. They were treated for minor injuries at Boise’s Saint Alphonsus Regional Medical Center.
Heather said the ringtone was just a silly song from her mom’s college days. No one thinks it’s silly any more.