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Search continues for missing airplane over Yosemite National Park

December 20, 2012

The North Dome of Yosemite National Park. Photo/Wikimedia Commons

 

Search efforts continue for the single engine plane that may have gone missing over Yosemite National Park on Monday, December 17. 

The pilot, recently identified as 68 year-old Nicol Wilson of Solvang, CA, was flying alone from Santa Barbara to Mammoth Lakes when he was last detected via radar in the afternoon of Dec. 17 near the North Dome area of the park.  The plane, a 1966 Single-Engine Mooney, was reported missing by Wilson’s family when he didn’t arrive in Mammoth Monday night.

Search for the missing plane started on the morning of Tuesday, Dec. 18, however winter weather and poor visibility hindered air searches by a California Highway Patrol helicopter and a Civil Air Patrol aircraft.  Efforts to locate the plane by beacon receivers were unsuccessful and search by vehicle in the more complicated and rugged terrain of the park is not possible due to snow coverage and unmaintained roads in the winter months.

Air search has continued into Thursday, though there have not been any signs or clues as to where the aircraft may be.

Park officials maintain that there is still time to search, though Friday afternoon is expected to bring in the first of three powerful winter storms affecting the region with heavy snow, low temperatures and high winds, thus hindering search further.

Approximately 60 personnel are assisting in the air search of the roughly 600 square mile search area and include Search and Rescue teams from Yosemite National Park, CHP and CAP. 

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