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Search Continues For San Jose Pilot, Family on Missing Plane

Dale Smith's plane went missing Sunday in the Idaho mountains; search to continue Wednesday.

San Jose resident Dale Smith and four other passengers are believed to have disappeared aboard a small plane in the Idaho backcountry Sunday, Dec. 1, 2013. Photo courtesy KTVU.com
San Jose resident Dale Smith and four other passengers are believed to have disappeared aboard a small plane in the Idaho backcountry Sunday, Dec. 1, 2013. Photo courtesy KTVU.com
—By Bay City News Service

The search for a plane piloted by a San Jose man that went missing in a mountainous part of Idaho this weekend is scheduled to continue Wednesday morning, Idaho transportation officials said Tuesday afternoon.

The small 1983 single-engine Beechcraft Bonanza, which is registered to Dale Smith, of San Jose, had five people on board when it left Baker City, Ore., around 11 a.m.

Sunday, according to Federal Aviation Administration records and Idaho state transportation officials.

The pilot is Smith and his passengers are his son Daniel Smith and his son's wife Sheree Smith, and Smith's daughter Amber Smith and her fiancé Jonathon Norton.

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

An emergency locator transmitter signal went off but the signal is weak and search crews were unable to pinpoint the craft's location, officials said.

About 40 search and rescue personnel will continue search efforts Wednesday following two days of unsuccessful searching because of inclement weather and difficult terrain, state transportation officials said.

In Tuesday's search two helicopters from the Idaho Army National Guard scoured the area from the air.

In addition, a ground search was organized by the Valley County Sheriff's Office with ATVs and snowmobiles.

A local unit of the Civil Air Patrol and aircraft from the Idaho Transportation Department also joined in search efforts today, according to transportation officials.

Three more Civil Air Patrol planes will assist in Wednesday's search.

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 bought the plane in 2005 and became an avid pilot. He kept the plane at the Reid-Hillview Airport in San Jose.

"He's flown all over Canada," Kriech said.

Kriech said Smith left from Oregon where his father lives and was headed to Butte to drop off Daniel Smith and his wife.

From the office late this morning, Kriech said the small company of about 25 employees is praying for good news out of Idaho.

He said that work operations are "a little slow today" and that Smith was part of a team that has "worked together for years."

Copyright © 2013 by Bay City News, Inc. -- Republication, Rebroadcast or any other Reuse without the express written consent of Bay City News, Inc. is prohibited.

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