Share

Idaho Plane Crash Recovery Update: All 5 Bodies Recovered

January 15, 2014

BOISE, Idaho — The bodies of all five victims of a December plane crash have been recovered from the mountains of central Idaho.

Valley County Coroner Nathan Hess tells the Idaho Statesman that the last of the victims was recovered Wednesday afternoon.

The wreckage from the Dec. 1 crash was located Friday by Dellon Smith, the brother of 51-year-old pilot and software executive Dale Smith of San Jose, Calif.

Crews worked Tuesday and Wednesday to recover the bodies.

Sheriff's Lt. Dan Smith says the plane hit about eight trees, broke apart and caught fire.

Officials say Dale Smith was flying from Oregon to Montana with his son Daniel Smith and Daniel's wife, Sheree, of Butte, Mont.; along with Dale Smith's daughter Amber Smith and her fiance, Jonathan Norton. Amber Smith and Norton were students at BYU-Idaho.

The plane was flying from eastern Oregon, where the family had been spending the Thanksgiving holiday, to Montana, where Daniel and Sheree Smith live, when it disappeared Dec. 1 in the mountains 150 miles northeast of Boise.

Dellon Smith, 38, a cargo pilot based in Anchorage, Alaska, and one of three brothers, found the crash site at about 2 p.m. Friday. A large, tracked vehicle carried the search team into the backcountry, where they spread out. He said he tried to take in the scene to determine how the crash might have happened, adding it appeared to have been a violent impact.

"It was very sudden," he said. "Since they were in the clouds, they probably didn't know what hit them. Probably a couple seconds and it was over. There was no pain and suffering for our family members, and for that we're very grateful."

(MORE: January Thaw Follows Arctic Deep Freeze)

Officials suspended the official search for the aircraft in mid-December, but an intensive hunt by family, friends and a large online community scouring satellite and other photos helped locate the badly damaged aircraft Friday. At one point, hundreds of online volunteers were pitching in.

"Every single one of them made a difference," Dellon Smith said.

Dale Smith had reported engine trouble and radioed for coordinates to possible landing sites, including a grass-covered backcountry landing strip. Shortly after, controllers lost radio and radar contact.

Janis Smith said it appeared the plane crashed moments after the last communication. She said the plane had caught fire. Dellon Smith said he thinks his brother was trying to make it to an airport in McCall.

According to Federal Aviation Administration records, Smith, an executive and co-founder of San Jose-based SerialTek, obtained his pilot's license in 2005.

"My brother was a very good pilot and a very good man and a great leader of his family," Dellon Smith said.

MORE: Thousands Without Water After W. Va. Chemical Spill

Al Jones of the West Virginia department of General Services tests the water as he flushes the faucet and opens a rest room on the first floor of the State Capitol in Charleston, W.Va., Monday, Jan. 13, 2014. (AP Photo/Steve Helber)


Featured Blogs

Odile Dumping Heavy Rains on Southwest U.S.; Edouard Becomes a Major Hurricane

By Dr. Jeff Masters
September 16, 2014

Residents of Mexico's Baja Peninsula are picking up the pieces after devastating Hurricane Odile smashed ashore at Cabo San Lucas near 12:45 am EDT Monday as a Category 3 storm with 125 mph winds. The San Jose del Cabo airport (7th busiest in Mexico) is closed until September 22, and the Cabo San Lucas airport may be closed until October. Fortunately, no deaths are being attributed to the hurricane--a tribute to the excellence of Mexico's civil defense system for hurricanes.

August 2014 Global Weather Extremes Summary

By Christopher C. Burt
September 12, 2014

August featured a record heat wave in the Baltics and Belarus, record cold in Northern Ireland, extreme rainfall events along the U.S. East Coast and in Michigan. Deadly flooding in Nepal and India killed at least 200 and Typhoon Halong hit Japan. A rare tropical storm struck the Big Island of Hawaii. Perth, Australia had its warmest August on record while Darwin measured its coldest August temperature on record.

Live Blog: Tracking Hurricane Arthur as it Approaches North Carolina Coast

By Shaun Tanner
July 3, 2014

This is a live blog set up to provide the latest coverage on Hurricane Arthur as it threatens the North Carolina Coast. Check back often to see what the latest is with Arthur. The most recent updates are at the top.

Tropical Terminology

By Stu Ostro
June 30, 2014

Here is some basic, fundamental terminology related to tropical cyclones. Rather than a comprehensive and/or technical glossary, this represents the essence of the meaning & importance of some key, frequently used terms.

2013-14 - An Interesting Winter From A to Z

By Tom Niziol
May 15, 2014

It was a very interesting winter across a good part of the nation from the Rockies through the Plains to the Northeast. Let's break down the most significant winter storms on a month by month basis.

What the 5th IPCC Assessment Doesn't Include

By Angela Fritz
September 27, 2013

Melting permafrost has the potential to release an additional 1.5 trillion tons of carbon into the atmosphere, and could increase our global average temperature by 1.5°F in addition to our day-to-day human emissions. However, this effect is not included in the IPCC report issued Friday morning, which means the estimates of how Earth's climate will change are likely on the conservative side.