VALLEY COUNTY -- Weather conditions have improved and the search is underway again today for a plane missing near the Johnson Creek airstrip south of Yellow Pine.
A weak emergency locator transmitter signal was picked up about 1 mile south of the airstrip this morning by one of the search aircraft. Search and rescue personnel are currently attempting to hone in on that signal.
Authorities say five people are on board the BE-36 Beech Bonanza. The aircraft is an early 1980s model, white and maroon and has six seats. According to FAA records, the pilot and owner of the plane, Dale Smith, is among those on the plane.
And according to the Salt Lake Tribune, two of the four passengers are Amber Smith of San Jose, Calif., and her fiance Jonathan Norton.
The plane took off from Baker City, Oregon at 11 a.m. PST Sunday and went off radar around 1 p.m. near Yellow Pine, about 50 miles northwest of Cascade.
The Valley County Sheriff's Office is coordinating the search with assistance from the Idaho Transportation Department, Civil Air Patrol, Army National Guard, United State Forest Service, Idaho Fish and Game, the Idaho Bureau of Homeland Security, as well as other volunteers and members of the family. Around 40 people are currently aiding in the search efforts.
Base camp has been set up at the Johnson Creek Airstrip.
Here are the resources being used by today's search team.
The Idaho Army National Guard Lakota and Blackhawk helicopters left just after 8 this morning, along with ATVs and snowmobiles.
Civil Air Patrol and airplanes from Idaho Transportation Department will also help, sticking to only a five mile radius of Johnson Creek.
A flight restriction has been issued for all airplanes in the area from 7:30 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. Aircraft, other than those directly involved in the search, are restricted from flying below 10,500 feet above sea level, which is about 1,000 feet above mountain peaks in the area. This will keep the search-area canopy clear to search.
The single-engine Beech Bonanza was headed for Butte, Montana when air traffic control in Salt Lake City lost communication with the plane.
Valley County Sheriff's Deputy Lt. Dan Smith says Dale Smith is an experienced pilot.
We have significant resources dedicated to this search effort, said Lt. Smith. We are hopeful that the break in the weather will allow us to locate the missing aircraft.
Search efforts had been suspended overnight Monday due to inclement weather and lack of daylight. Snow has been falling in the central Idaho mountains and overnight temperatures got down to around zero degrees.