After monthlong search, Silicon Valley exec's plane found in Idaho

More than a month after a plane carrying a Silicon Valley executive and his family in central Idaho went missing, police officials said it has been found with no survivors.

The single-engine plane was registered to Dale Smith, a 51-year-old pilot and software executive from San Jose. Smith was traveling with his son, Daniel, and Daniel's wife, Sheree Smith; and daughter Amber Smith with her fiance, Jonathan Norton, according to the Associated Press.


Lt. Dan Smith, operations supervisor at the Valley County Sheriff's Office, said in a press release that further recovery efforts may be delayed "due to weather conditions and a severe storm moving in."

Officials had suspended the search for the aircraft in mid-December, but family and friends located the damaged aircraft on Friday after going on a search. In a Google website called "Search For Dale's Plane," volunteers posted team reports and maps updating people about their search.

Dellon Smith, the brother of Dale Smith, organized a three-day search beginning Jan. 8, the website stated. Three days later, on Jan. 11, an announcement on the site stated: "UPDATE!! - The Plane has been found!"

Dale Smith's wife, Janis, thanked those who searched both online with digital satellite mapping and on foot near the site.

"Dellon and his crew spent the entire day, from 3 a.m. onward trying to find the right location," she wrote on the Google site. "The snow was very deep and the going was very slow. Less than two hours before they needed to wrap up the search for the foreseeable future, Dellon and Arthur [W. Stock Jr.] found the plane."

Although the plane is in pieces and buried in snow, Janice wrote, "we do know my family members on the plane died quickly and painlessly."

The plane had been flying from eastern Oregon, where the family had been spending Thanksgiving, to Montana, where Daniel and Sheree Smith lived, the AP reported.

"We're confident they're all right there," Valley County Sheriff Patti Bolen told the AP.

Bolen did not say whether positive identifications had been made, but said the site has about 3 feet of snow, with more expected to fall Saturday.

Lt. Smith said in the release that the Valley County Sheriff's office has no further information at this time.



Twitter: @saba_h