The administrator of the Montana Aeronautics Division said Friday he and his co-pilot were lucky to have survived the crash-landing of their single-engine airplane during a blinding snowstorm north of Cedar City.

Mike Ferguson said he and Brenda Spivey were en route to Panama for a Christmas vacation Wednesday night when the engine stopped. The plane was cruising on instruments through the snowstorm at 13,000 feet when it lost power."We flew it until we hit the ground," said Ferguson.

There were no injuries, but the Beech-craft Bonanza, specially equipped for long-distance, over-water flying, was destroyed, he said.

"It's just junk," Ferguson said of his plane.

Federal investigators were at the scene Friday trying to determine cause of the crash. Ferguson, also a certified aircraft mechanic, said he believed ice crystals formed in the fuel system, cutting off the fuel supply.

Ferguson said he and Spivey spent four hours in the hills north of Cedar City before they were resued.

He said aerial flares that drew search and rescue people to the scene during the storm probably saved them "because the sheriff said they wouldn't have seen us otherwise."