Nearly three weeks after a San Jose family vanished in the Idaho wilderness after their plane crashed, Janis Smith is holding onto the chance her loved ones will be found. George Kiriyama reports.
Nearly three weeks after a San Jose family vanished in the Idaho wilderness after their plane crashed, Janis Smith is holding onto the chance her loved ones will be found safe.
Janis is the wife of Dale Smith, the pilot of the missing plane and a software executive in San Jose. Two of her children and their significant others were also onboard.
"There's still a chance," she said in an interview with NBC Bay Area. "There's still a chance."
On Dec. 1, the 51-year-old Dale was flying a single-engine Beech Bonanza from eastern Oregon to Butte, Mont., when he reported engine trouble.
"He said he had icing and then he said he was having engine trouble," Janis said. "And then he said he had lost his engine and that's the last communication they were able to understand."
Dangerous terrain and bad winter weather forced rescue crews to suspend the search on Dec. 12.
The family has hired a private plane and continue to search for their missing loved ones on their own.
"There are so many incredible generous people who are sacrificing their time, their money, their resources for my family," Janis said. "And most of them don't even know us."
Janis returned home to San Jose last week, and her family and friends have been by her side ever since. She said her strength during this tough time comes from a strong Mormon faith and the belief that everything will be okay.
"That's because, overall, I have always had this feeling that my family is okay," she said. "And whether they come walking out of those woods and they're okay. Or they've already passed on -- I feel like they're okay."
Janis said she is not ready to say goodbye and that she's still holding on to that sliver over hope her family may still be alive.
"For me there's always a chance," she said. "Until they find the plane. There's always a chance."