The search resumed on Tuesday morning for a missing single-engine plane that disappeared in central Idaho with a San Jose executive and his family. Marianne Favro reports.
The search resumed on Tuesday morning for a missing single-engine plane that disappeared in central Idaho with a San Jose executive and his family.
And loved ones said they had reason for hope: The plane's emergency beacon was giving off faint signals in a different area from where the last cell phone transmissions came from before the plane went down two days ago.
Friends and family were holding out hope that those transmissions might mean the group is alive.
The BE-36 Beech Bonanza, registered to Dale Smith, 51, of San Jose, was reported missing since Sunday in the wilderness near the central Idaho town of Yellow Pine after suffering engine failure about 125 miles northeast of Boise, according to NBC affiliate KTVB reports.
Dale Smith is president of a San Jose data storage company called SerialTek. His business partner Rand Kriech said Smith was traveling with his daughter, Amber Smith, who graduated from Santa Teresa High in San Jose; her fiancee, Jonathan Norton of Salt Lake City; Smith's son, Daniel Smith; and Smith's daughter-in-law Sheree Smith.
Kriech said they had all left Baker, Ore., after celebrating Thanksgiving with Dale's father, and then headed to Butte, Montana, to drop off Daniel and Sheree Smith. Then, mid-way to Idaho, Kriech said Smith lost contact with air traffic controllers in Salt Lake City.
Authorities wouldn’t specifically confirm whether Dale Smith was flying the plane, but did say the pilot was the owner of the plane. Eric Peterson, assistant director of the Santa Clara County airports, confirmed that the plane and its owner, Dale Smith, are tenants at Reid-Hillview Airport in San Jose.
"We have no idea what the status of things is right now,'' Valley County Sheriff Lt. Dan Smith said on Monday. "They could have landed safely somewhere and just can't communicate.''
Kriech, who co-founded the hardware and software company SerialTek with Smith, called his friend an excellent pilot after flying with him several times.
"He's one of the safest pilots I know. A very cautious pilot," Kriech said on Monday night. "Have no fear of flying with him at all. I'm a pilot myself and I really appreciate somebody that takes as much care as Dale."
Elizabeth Neipp is hoping and praying for her friend, Smith, and his family are safe.
"Dale is smart. He's talented. He is good at what he does," she said. "So there's good reason to think, to hope that there is a happy ending to this."
Track vehicles, ATVs and snowmobiles were mobilized for a ground search. The Valley County Sheriff's Department is coordinating the search effort, which includes deputies, EMS, firefighters, search and rescue crews.
Smith obtained his pilot's license in 2005 and had a second-class medical certification, allowing him to operate commercial aircraft.
On his company biography, Smith founded SerialTek in 2007. Before that, he was president of Data Transit, and applications manager for Cirrus Logic. He is also the inventor for many patents.