BOISE, Idaho (AP) — Authorities have finished their second day of searching for a small plane and five passengers that disappeared two days ago in the mountains of central Idaho.
Crews on the ground along with National Guard helicopters and airplanes have been scanning the remote backcountry for a Beech Bonanza piloted by Dale Smith, a 51-year-old software executive from San Jose, Calif.
Smith took off Sunday from Baker City, Ore., where his family had been spending the holiday, en route to Butte, Mont. But while flying over Idaho's vast wilderness, Smith reported engine trouble and asked air traffic controllers for coordinates to a backcountry landing strip near the tiny town of Yellow Pine, about 150 miles northeast of Boise and along the border of the Frank Church-River of No Return Wilderness. Controllers then lost radio and radar communication with the plane.
The search Tuesday focused on an area south of the Johnson Creek airstrip after authorities received a faint signal from the plane's emergency beacon.
Authorities identified the others on board as Smith's son Daniel Smith and his wife, Sheree, along with Dale Smith's daughter, Amber Smith and her fiance Jonathon Norton.
State, local and federal officials, along with volunteers from the family, intend to resume the search Wednesday and look for ways to overcome the communication challenges posed by the area's remote and rugged terrain. Temperatures for Yellow Pine are expected to dip below zero Tuesday night.