Bodies from Idaho plane crash could be recovered by tonight

Published January 14, 2014 10:12 am
Five victims • Wreckage found less than 2 miles from rural airport.
This is an archived article that was published on sltrib.com in 2014, and information in the article may be outdated. It is provided only for personal research purposes and may not be reprinted.

Sheriff's deputies, search and rescue workers and family volunteers on Tuesday were near the remote central Idaho site of a fatal December plane crash, hoping to finally recover the bodies of five people from the wreckage.

Valley County Sheriff's Sgt. Rorie Snapp said Tuesday that, weather permitting, recovery of the remains of San Jose, Calif., pilot Dale Smith; his son, Daniel Smith and his wife, Sheree Smith; and daughter Amber Smith with her fiance, Jonathan Norton.

Norton and Smith were seniors at BYU-Idaho who had planned to marry on Jan 4.

"Weather permitting, we may have something for you [Tuesday evening]," Snapp said, noting intermittent storms had often stymied earlier search efforts and could delay the present effort to recover the bodies.

Snapp confirmed that because of the rugged, icy and snowpacked conditions where the plane was found last Friday afternoon, plans include the possible use of a helicopter to remove the remains. The wreckage itself was to be left behind for now.

Alan Dayton, Jonathan Norton's Salt Lake City uncle, said the plane was found by the pilot's brother, Dellon Smith, and another man, on the west slope of Antimony Ridge. The ridge, about 7,500 feet elevation, is less than 2 miles from the rural Johnson Creek Airport where pilot Dale Smith was believed headed for an emergency landing on Dec. 1, after reporting engine trouble to the Salt Lake City International Airport control tower.

It appeared that the single-engine Beech B36TC aircraft, its winds sheared off, had impacted with such force that all five aboard died instantly.

The plane was en route from Baker, Ore., to Butte, Mont., when it went down some 100 miles northeast of Boise.

Dayton said he understood recovery workers would either snowshoe in or be lowered to the crash site to cut away the canopy in order to access the bodies. remims@sltrib.com

Twitter: @remims



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