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Search Called Off For Missing Airplane In Idaho's Central Mountains

central mountains, airplane search
Idaho Department of Transportation

Efforts to find a missing airplane in Idaho’s central mountains have been suspended. The Idaho Division of Aeronautics, which is in charge of the search, made the decision Thursday.

On Dec. 1, five people on board a Beech Bonanza left the Baker City, Ore., airport headed for Butte, Mont. Shortly before noon on Dec. 1, the plane vanished from radar near the Johnson Creek Airstrip, 50 miles northeast of Cascade. Search efforts started the same day, but poor visibility, snow and freezing temperatures have made the search challenging.

In a news release Thursday, Mike Pape, administrator of the Idaho Transportation Department’s Division of Aeronautics said “We reluctantly suspended the search because of worsening conditions and concern for the safety of our search teams.”

Pape said that the search will resume if there is credible information about where the plane is located. “Our decision to suspend the formal search was not easy to make and came only after all of our other options had diminished,” he said. “Our hearts go out to family members and friends as they await word about their love ones.”

Pilot Dale Smith, along with son Daniel Smith and his wife, Sheree Smith, daughter Amber Smith and her fiancé, Jonathon Norton were on board the airplane.

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