Brother describes finding sibling's plane wreckage

Published on NewsOK Modified: January 11, 2014 at 8:35 pm •  Published: January 11, 2014
Advertisement

BOISE, Idaho (AP) — When Dellon Smith spotted the wreckage of his older brother's airplane on the side of a central Idaho mountain, he started running.

"It's hard to sprint in snowshoes, but we did," Smith said Saturday, a day after finding the snow-covered aircraft on a steep slope at about 7,500 feet, bringing an end to a six-week search. "I just wanted to run as fast as I could, and I knew it was a very sacred place to me."

After covering the 200 feet to the aircraft, he asked the rest of the 12-member search team to give him a few minutes alone at the site where a light snow was falling.

"You're just overwhelmed," he said. "You're just so happy to have found it, yet you're so sad because you found it. I just enjoyed the peace of being there, and finally getting answers for our whole family."

Bad weather Saturday morning turned back a recovery team attempting to reach the wreckage of the small aircraft that went down in early December, killing 51-year-old pilot Dale Smith, a Silicon Valley executive, and four of his family members.

There were no plans to make another attempt Sunday, but a meeting will be held Monday to consider options for reaching the remote crash site and removing the five bodies, Valley County Sheriff Patti Bolen said.

She said snowmobiles will be needed to reach the area, and various routes in the rugged terrain are being considered. She didn't rule out the use of a helicopter.

The aircraft had been carrying Dale Smith, a software executive from San Jose, Calif.; his son, Daniel Smith and his wife, Sheree Smith; and daughter Amber Smith with her fiance, Jonathan Norton, officials said.

The plane was flying from eastern Oregon, where the family had been spending the Thanksgiving holiday, to Montana, where Daniel and Sheree Smith live, when it disappeared Dec. 1 in the mountains 150 miles northeast of Boise.

Dellon Smith, 38, a cargo pilot based in Anchorage, Alaska, and one of three brothers, found the crash site at about 2 p.m. Friday. A large, tracked vehicle carried the search team into the backcountry, where they spread out. He said he tried to take in the scene to determine how the crash might have happened, adding it appeared to have been a violent impact.

Continue reading this story on the...