Five Bodies Found After Plane Crash in Idaho Mountains

Dale Smith (Photo: AP)
Dale Smith (Photo: AP)

A private search team recovered the wreckage of a plane carrying a Silicon Valley executive and four others in the central Idaho mountains Saturday.

Volunteers found the plane broken apart and buried in snow, ending a monthlong search by police, family members and others, the Associated Press reported. On Dec. 1, the aircraft carrying the 51-year-old pilot, Dale Smith, a software executive from San Jose, Calif.; his son, Daniel Smith and his wife, Sheree Smith; and daughter Amber Smith with her fiance, Jonathan Norton, went missing.

The plane was flying from eastern Oregon, where the family had been spending the Thanksgiving holiday, to Montana, where Daniel and Sheree Smith live, when it vanished in the mountains 150 miles northeast of Boise. Dale Smith had reported engine trouble and tried to get information about a backcountry landing strip where he hoped to put the plane down safely.

However, Smith’s wife told the AP it appears the plane, which had caught on fire, crashed moments after the last communication. For weeks, family members could only guess what happened.

All five people onboard the plane died.

“It’s a real sense of closure to know exactly what happened and to know that they didn’t suffer at all,” Dale Smith’s wife, Janis Smith, told the AP.

According to Federal Aviation Administration records, Smith, an executive and co-founder of San Jose-based SerialTek, obtained his pilot’s license in 2005.

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SOURCE: Yamiche Alcindor