From: Fremont County Sheriff's Office
Friday, October 29, 2010
Contact: Sgt. Ryan Lee, 307-332-1021 or 332-1028
UPDATE: Search for missing aircraft at 9:00 A.M. M.T.
(Lander, WY) – The search for a single-engine fixed wing aircraft missing over the Wind River Mountains of northwest Wyoming with four members of a Minnesota family on board resumed at first light Friday morning.
Air and ground search crews are concentrating on a nine-square mile area east of Wyoming’s tallest mountain peak, the last known location of the aircraft, which disappeared Monday on a flight from Jackson Hole to Riverton en route to the Twin Cities.
With a new weather front moving in, search resources today will include aerial searching with three helicopters including an Air Force Huey based at F.E. Warren Air Force Base in Cheyenne, and three ground crews, said Jason Aanestad, the Incident Command Center’s Operations Chief.
On Thursday a specially equipped fixed wing aircraft flew over the search area numerous times in an attempt to pinpoint a possible Emergency Transponder signal (ELT). The plane, from Park County, WY, Search and Rescue, was able to confirm a weak signal, but it was unable to pinpoint the exact location of the transmission.
“This is a very mountainous area and signals such as those from an emergency transponder bounce off of rocks, cliffs and peaks, making detection difficult,” said Incident Commander Chip Williams. He said ground crews would be inserted into the area with hand held devices in an attempt to pinpoint the source of the transmissions.
“A weak but steady ELT signal has been monitored coming from the general search area, but we have been unable to locate the exact location of the transmission, and that is the focus of today’s search,” said Detective Sergeant Ryan Lee of the Fremont County Sheriff’s Department.
“An ELT transponder of the kind in the missing aircraft may be activated manually, or automatically
in a manner similar to the deployment of an air bag in a sudden impact,” Lee said. “Search crews had been picking up an unknown transmission, and yesterday we were able to confirm that those transmissions are coming from the search area. We have reason to believe the signal confirmed yesterday is, in all probability, coming from the downed aircraft. There are no other missing aircraft reported in the area.”
The next report will be issued this afternoon.