Montana

Dec 5, 2013 3:29 PM by MTN News

Butte couple aboard missing plane

YELLOW PINE, ID - The search continues for a missing airplane in mountainous Valley County, Idaho after the aircraft reported engine trouble near the small town of Yellow Pine over the weekend.

Five people are on board, including a couple from Butte and BYU-Idaho. The aircraft hasn't been seen since.

Video obtained by KBOI-TV Wednesday highlights the challenging terrain rescue workers are facing looking for the 1983 White Bonanza. About 50 to 60 people are searching the ground, working from sunrise to sunset.

The faint emergency locator transmitter signal thought to be picked up earlier this week is still being searched for, however it cannot be verified by other aircraft searching in the same area on Wednesday.

The teams are expanding their search as that signal may be misleading due to the mountainous terrain and the unreliable nature of the signal.

"We only got a couple of what they call needle blips on it," said Valley County Sheriff's Lt. Dan Smith. "Which is when an aircraft flies over. Today they're not getting that, so we don't know. We haven't ruled out that it's not an ELT, but we're also looking at other options that it may have been a false signal from somewhere."

The plane's passenger's include the pilot, Dale Smith, along with son Daniel Smith and his wife Sheree Smith, and daughter Amber Smith with her fiancé Jonathon Norton.

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