A solo flight airplane crash in the La Sal Mountains results in the death of a 63-year-old Colorado man on June 18.
Pilot Miles Reece, the only person on board his aircraft, departed from Durango, CO on his way to a camping expedition in the Idaho backcountry on the morning of Wednesday, June 18. The Bayfield, CO resident was traveling alongside a friend, Douglas Berry, who also flew a solo flight.
As their airplanes approached the La Sal Mountains, Reece and Berry were in radio contact, but not visual contact. They lost radio contact as they went over the mountain range.
Berry circled back to look for Reece but wasn’t able to contact the missing plane. Berry then made his way to the pre-planned re-fueling sight in Brigham City, UT.
After not hearing from Reece for several hours, Berry became worried and reported the plane missing.
San Juan County officials began searching for the missing aircraft early the next morning. The crew discovered the plane in the early afternoon on Thursday, June 19.
Because all four of the locating devices on the plane were not operating, finding the wreckage required searchers to spot the plane visually.
Four aircraft were deployed in the search for the missing plane, including airplanes owned by the San Juan County Sheriff’s office, two civil air patrol planes, and the Utah Department of Public Safety helicopter.
The plane was discovered in a ravine between Medicine Lake and Beaver Lake. The cause of the crash is not yet clear, but the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) will investigate the incident.