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Missing plane with BYU-Idaho students found

By Staff Writer
Published On: Jan 10 2014 09:35:53 PM CST
Updated On: Jan 10 2014 10:26:21 PM CST
Amber Smith and Jonathan Norton

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Amber Smith, left, and Jonathan Norton

CASCADE, Idaho -

A plane which has been missing since December 1 has been located, according to the Valley County Sheriff's office.

The sheriff's media release said it appears no one survived.

Five people were on the plane when it was reported missing. The pilot, Dale Smith, his son Daniel and Daniel's wife, Sheree, were on board along with two BYU-Idaho students, the pilot's daughter Amber Smith and her fiance Jonathan Norton.

A family member tells our affiliate in Boise, KBOI, that the plane was found on top of a ridge about a half mile east of the Johnson Creek Airstrip in Yellow Pine.

The plane was first spotted by someone looking at aerial photos on a web page set up to let the public help search for the plane.

The family member told KBOI that searchers, including pilot Dale Smith's brother Dellon, then used a snowcat to reach the plane Friday and they found all five victims inside.

Friday night, Dale Smith's wife Janis sent the following message to the search website:

They found the plane! Thank you to all the Tomnod searchers who found images that were right on. Dellon and his crew spent the entire day, from 3am onward trying to find the right location. The snow was very deep and the going was very slow. Less than two hours before they needed to wrap up the search for the foreseeable future, Dellon and Arthur found the plane. I am so grateful that Dellon was the one who found his brother. The plane is in pieces and buried in snow. They have not yet found all the parts. However, we do know my family members on the plane died quickly and painlessly. They did not suffer.

The plane was a 1980s-model, six-seat BE-36 Beech Bonanza.  It left the Baker City, Ore., airport bound for Butte, Mont., on Dec. 1. 

The sheriff office said recovery efforts may be delayed because of weather conditions and a storm moving in.

They have not released any other info. 

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