Search for Small Plane Presumed Down in Nevada

By  | 

A search expanded Tuesday for a small aircraft with two people on board that authorities said might have crashed during snow showers over the weekend near Tonopah.

After an unsuccessful air and ground search Monday, Nye County sheriff's deputies on the ground were widening the search area with more aircraft from around the state, Maj. Charles McCarty, Nevada Civil Air Patrol spokesman, said Tuesday.

The search was centered about 11 miles northwest of Tonopah Airport, where McCarty said the single-engine Cessna Centurion disappeared from Federal Aviation Administration radar about 10:55 a.m. Sunday.

"If he was flying low, trying to avoid the weather, he could be anywhere," McCarty said in Las Vegas. "But that's where he was last seen on radar."

The pilot and his wife took off Sunday from Tucson, Ariz., bound for Eugene, Ore., McCarty said. They did not file a flight plan.

Two aircraft from North Las Vegas, one from Henderson, two from Reno and two from Elko were involved in the search Tuesday, McCarty said.

A National Guard helicopter flew over the area late Monday, checking reports of flare sightings, but the missing plane was not found, McCarty said.

The Civil Air Patrol spokesman said the pilot and his wife had some survival gear on the plane, including blankets, water and necessary medication.