Family hires pilot to search for missing airplane in Idaho wilderness

Credit: Zach Stotland/ KTVB

Family hires pilot to search for missing airplane in Idaho wilderness

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by Andrea Lutz

Bio | Email | Follow: @KTVBandrealutz

KTVB.COM

Posted on December 9, 2013 at 7:47 PM

Updated Tuesday, Dec 10 at 8:15 AM

BOISE -- Family members of those on plane missing for more than a week in the central Idaho mountains have some renewed hope to start out another week of searching for their loved ones.

The single engine Beech Bonanza went off radar on Dec. 1 on its way from BakerCity, Oregon to Butte, Montana with five people on board.

The snowy weekend hampered those search efforts, but the family is still going full force.

A private plane has been hired by the family to search now that it is safe again to take to the skies.

Witnesses have come forward with new details that the family is hanging their hope on.

Brad Norton is the uncle of Jonathon Norton, one of the five passengers on board

"The enormity of the terrain and the potential place where that plane could have gone ... it's just a little overwhelming to be honest," said Brad Norton.

The remote area in Valley County is rough terrain that is rugged and steep, and covered in snow.

While those with sheriff's office scaled back the search last week, family members say they had no other choice but to ramp it up by hiring a private plane to assist in the search.

Also, a mine worker came forward saying he heard a plane overhead that Sunday that appeared to be having engine trouble near the Stibnite mine.

"Of course we as a family are saying, well we didn’t find them there so obviously we think we have to look outside of that area," said Norton.

With the help of satellite images, searchers can now look for anything out of the ordinary and pinpoint a location to move their search in the expansive Idaho backcountry.

"From searching those satellite posts there has been some renewed hope and we are trying to keep hoping for a miracle," said Norton.

Obviously this search is in tough terrain so putting anyone else in harm's way is not what Valley County authorities want to do.  However, if anyone wants to aid in this search, the family says they are welcome.

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