VALLEY COUNTY, Idaho – Authorities in Valley County say they have recovered five bodies from the wreckage of a plane that crashed in the central Idaho mountains last month.
Lt. Dan Smith with the Valley County Sheriff's Office says deputies were assisted Wednesday afternoon by a Blackhawk helicopter from the Idaho Army National Guard. He says it took two days to get into the remote, snow-covered mountainside, then dig out and remove the bodies.
It appears all five people on board the single engine Beech Bonanza died on impact. Smith says there is not much left of the plane. However, they were able to find the serial number to confirm it is the plane they have been looking for since it went missing on Dec. 1.
The wreckage was located last Friday by Dellon Smith, who is the brother of the pilot, Dale Smith, of San Jose, Calif.
Smith was flying from Baker City, Oregon to Butte, Montana when he lost contact with air traffic controllers while near the Johnson Creek airstrip in Yellow Pine, Idaho.
Smith's son Daniel, his wife Sheree, along with his daughter Amber and her fiance Jonathan Norton were also on the plane.
Lt. Smith said deputies did recover wallets from one of the passengers and the pilot to identify them. The other bodies will have to undergo DNA testing to confirm their identities.
It will now be up to the NTSB to recover the wreckage. They have not be up there yet. Smith says Valley County officials have been sending them photos and talking with them on the phone. No word on when that will take place.
A series of photos sent to KTVB by the Idaho National Guard document the rough, steep terrain surrounding the crash site.
Colonel Tim Marsano said the slope of the landing zone required helicopters crews to do a running onload / offload, meaning the helicopter could not land.