Overdue Aircraft

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jimmnn

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La Plata County: CAP Overdue aircraft search launching was filed Durango to Utah and back currently missing.

O/F 148.150, DTRS, Online

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jimmnn

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La Plata County U/D: Missing aircraft has been located by CAP crashed in Utah but so far pilot appears to be ok, trying to get a rescue team into him now.

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jimmnn

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Searchers may have found a small plane that went missing out of southwest Colorado.

The plane vanished Sunday after flying out of Animas Air Park near Durango.

Capt. Steve Hamilton, spokesman for the Colorado wing of the Civil Air Patrol, said there has been an "unofficial" sighting of the plane by a small, local airline that runs sightseeing tours.

"We strongly suspect it is the plane" that is missing, Hamilton said. "A rescue crew is on its way."

Hamilton could not give the location of the unofficial sighting.

The tour pilot told authorities that a man, presumably the pilot, was spotted walking near the downed aircraft, Hamilton said.

The specially designed aircraft took off about 11:30 a.m. Sunday from the airport, located 4 miles outside of Durango.

Hamilton said the plane was to have returned by 3 p.m. but did not show up.

The aircraft is a "high-wing, two-seater" backcountry aircraft, especially designed for flying in rugged country and landing at small landing strips, said Hamilton. He said the aircraft is widely used in Alaska.

The CAP spokesman said the pilot had planned to land at Nokai Dome near Lake Powell, which consists of a small landing strip and hangar. Hamilton said the pilot turned around, however, without landing and was headed back to Animas Air Park for refueling. He never made it.

The family of the missing pilot alerted the CAP at 1 a.m. today.

Currently, the Colorado CAP has several planes in the air searching for the overdue aircraft.

Hamilton said the Utah wing of the Civil Air Patrol also is assisting in the search. The CAP official said he did not know whether the pilot was accompanied by a passenger.

Butch Knowlton, director of the La Plata County Office of Emergency Management, said the pilot, a Durango resident, called his wife and said he was planning to fly over three areas of southeastern Utah.
 
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