SAN JUAN COUNTY – At approximately 1 p.m. Thursday, San Juan County Sheriff’s search teams, including Utah Highway Patrol and Utah Civil Air Patrol, located a missing aircraft in the La Sal Mountains in San Juan County.
According to a press release from San Juan County Sheriff’s Office, the 1958 fixed wing, single engine 175 Cessna plane, piloted by Miles Reece, 62, of Bayfield, Colorado, crashed into the mountainside. The pilot was killed on impact.
No other passengers were on board and the plane was only carrying camping gear.
The Federal Aviation Administration has been contacted and will investigation to find what caused the crash.
Family has been contacted and Reece’s body will be flown to the Spanish Valley area by a Department of Public Safety helicopter and then transported by ground to the medical examiner’s office in Salt Lake City.
According to the press release, Reece left the Durango, Colorado, airport at approximately 6:30 a.m. He was accompanied by another plane piloted by his friend Douglas Berry, who departed from New Mexico. Both planes where headed for Johnson Creek, Idaho, for a camping trip.
The two pilots were in radio contact but not visual. As they entered the La Sal Mountain Range, the planes disappeared from Grand Junction, Colorado, radar. After passing the mountain range, only Berry’s plane appeared back on radar.
According to the press release, Berry turned around and flew back to where he last had radio contact with Reece but was unable to locate him.
Hoping that Reece was only having radio issues, Berry headed north to Brigham City, which was a rendezvous point where they had planned to meet.
After several hours of waiting in Brigham City with no contact from Reece, Berry contacted authorities to report a missing plane.
The plane had four different devices for location on board but none of them had been turned on. These devices included a “Find Me Spot locator” and an “Orange Box Emergency Locator.”
Searchers were able to visually spot the downed plane while searching.
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