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Man Finds Older Brother’s Plane Wreckage in Idaho

As Dellon Smith discovered the wreckage of his older brother’s airplane resting on the side of a central Idaho mountain, he started running. Smith sprinted in his snowshoes to the pile of snow-covered rubble located on a steep slope and ended the six week search for the missing plane and people aboard. After Smith arrived where the plane was resting, he asked the rest of his twelve-member search crew to give him a few minutes alone at the site. Smith said, “You’re just so happy to have found it, yet you’re so sad because you found it. I just enjoyed the peace of being there, and finally getting answers for our whole family.”

After the wreckage was discovered, a recovery team was dispatched; however, bad weather conditions forced them to turn back. According to Valley County Sheriff Patti Bolen, a meeting was to be held within days after the first recovery attempt to brainstorm options for getting to the remote crash site and bringing out the five people who were killed. Sheriff Bolen stated snow mobiles will be necessary to reach the site of the wreckage and different routes are being considered. The small plane crashed in early December, taking the lives of the fifty-one-year-old pilot, Dale Smith, his son, Daniel Smith and his wife, Sheree Smith, and his daughter, Amber Smith and her fiancé, Jonathan Norton. The plane was traveling from eastern Oregon, where the family had spent Thanksgiving, to Montana, where Daniel and Sheree Smith lived, when it disappeared December 1 about one-hundred-fifty miles northeast of Boise.

Dellon Smith, along with his other search crew members, used a large tracked vehicle to travel into the backcountry. The team then spread out across the terrain. Upon arrival at the crash site, Smith said he tried to determine how the crash occurred; it appeared that there was a violent impact. Smith stated, “It was very sudden. Since they were in the clouds, they probably didn’t know what hit them.” The official search for the airplane was suspended in mid-December, but family, friends, and a large online community continued their search by using satellite and other photos. Before the accident, Dale Smith reported engine trouble and radioed for coordinates to possible landing sites. Not long after Smith reached out for help, controllers lost both radio and radar contact.

Brother describes finding sibling’s plane wreckage, January 12, 2013

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