Search continues for plane, passengers missing in Idaho

December 4, 2013 7:59 pm

Missing pilot Dale Smith (file)

The search for a plane piloted by a San Jose man continued in a mountainous region of Idaho Wednesday, state transportation officials said.

The small 1983 single-engine Beechcraft Bonanza, registered to Dale Smith of San Jose, was carrying four other passengers when it took off Sunday from Baker City, Ore.

The pilot is Smith and his passengers are his son 26-year-old Daniel Smith and his son’s wife Sheree Smith, and Smith’s daughter Amber Smith, 21, and her fiancé Jonathon Norton.

The plane was headed to Bert Mooney Airport in Butte, Mont., but never arrived. It lost radar and radio contact near Yellow Pine, Idaho.

A massive search effort has been underway in the area since the plane’s disappearance.

On Wednesday the search ramped up with a crew of 60 scouring an expanded zone.

An emergency locator transmitter signal went off Tuesday but the signal was weak and search crews have been unable to pinpoint the craft’s location or trace the signal again, officials said.

The search has also been complicated by inclement weather and difficult terrain, state transportation officials said.

Today five planes from the local unit of the Civil Air Patrol and two Idaho National Guard helicopters were part of the search.

Specialized equipment, such as infrared radar technology, was also brought in Wednesday, officials said.

Smith is the president of San Jose-based SerialTek, which develops hardware and software tools for the data storage industry, according to its website.

Co-owner Rand Kriech said Smith is an avid pilot whose Sunday itinerary included leaving from Oregon where his father lives and dropping off his son Daniel Smith and his son’s wife in Butte, where the couple lives.