Search resumes for missing plane in Valley County

Search resumes for missing plane in Valley County

Search resumes for missing plane in Valley County

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by KTVB

KREM.com

Posted on December 5, 2013 at 12:18 PM

CASCADE, Idaho -- Authorities said the search for an airplane with five people aboard missing in the central Idaho wilderness since Sunday resumed Thursday morning.

The plane went down in remote area of Valley County near the Johnson Creek airstrip.

“Today we have clear weather and are continuing the search,” said Incident Commander Lt. Dan Smith with the Valley County Sheriff’s Office.  "The terrain of the search area continues to be a challenge, and our thoughts are with the family of those believed to be on the plane.”

The plane took off from Baker City, Oregon at 11 a.m. PST Sunday and went off radar around 1 p.m. MST near Yellow Pine, about 50 miles northwest of Cascade. It was bound for Butte, Mont.

Family members say the five people on the missing plane include the pilot, Dale Smith of San Jose, Calif., along with son Daniel Smith and his wife Sheree Smith, and daughter Amber Smith, with her fiancé Jonathon Norton.

This marks the fifth day of the search.

Ground search crews rested overnight near the remote community of Yellow Pine.

Today, ground teams are focusing their search on drainages east of the Johnson Creek airstrip.

As for aerial crews, they have been assigned to cover specific areas and will used a grid pattern in their attempts to locate the missing BE-36 Beech Bonanza.

Five airplanes are involved in today's search including two from the Civil Air Patrol and three coordinated from the Idaho Transportation Department.

Ground teams include a team from the Idaho Mountain Search and Rescue unit, and personnel from the Valley County Sheriff’s Office, Valley County Search and Rescue, Idaho Fish and Game, U.S. Forest Service, family members and the Idaho Transportation Department.

On Tuesday, an emergency beacon was detected about a mile south of the airstrip.  However, a weak signal made it hard to pinpoint the exact location of the plane.

On Wednesday, there were about 50 to 60 people involved in the search effort.

Incident commanders say volunteers are not need in the search due to the extreme, remote and mountainous terrain and the concern for safety of those involved in the search.

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