Search for missing airplane in Valley County ends for the day

December 2, 2013 

This image shows Johnson Creek Airstrip near Yellow Pine. Crews are searching for a small airplane that went missing in the area after reporting engine failure.


— Authorities have halted their search for the night for a missing plane near the Johnson Creek Airstrip, but plan to resume at daybreak Tuesday, according to the Idaho Transportation Department.

Five people were aboard the craft when it began having engine trouble near the Johnson Creek Airstrip south of Yellow Pine early Sunday afternoon.

Search attempts Monday were repeatedly stymied by bad weather. Army National Guard helicopters attempting to reach the site of the plane's last transmission were turned back.

Tuesday, authorities plan to continue an effort at a two-pronged search — with Blackhawk and Lakota helicopters in the air and track vehicles, ATVs and snowmobiles on the ground.

The single-engine Beech Bonanza was headed to Butte, Mont., from Baker, Ore. Salt Lake Tower called the Valley County Sheriff’s Office after losing contact with the plane by radio and radar. Sheriff's Lt. Dan Smith said his office was notified at about 3:30 p.m. Sunday.

Authorities have not identified the pilot or the others on board.

The plane's registered owner is Dale Smith, of San Jose, Calif., according to Federal Aviation Administration records. Smith obtained his pilot's license in 2005 and had a second-class medical certification, allowing him to operate commercial aircraft.

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