YOSEMITE – The search for a small plane missing since Monday, Dec. 17 over Yosemite National Park and adjacent areas has been suspended.
The single engine plane was last detected via radar in the afternoon of Dec. 17, over the North Dome area in the park.
Search efforts throughout the week have failed to yield clues or evidence regarding the plane’s location.The pilot, Nicol Wilson, is from the Santa Barbara area. Wilson was reported missing by his family on the evening of Dec. 17, after failing to arrive in Mammoth Lakes as planned. There were no passengers onboard.
Over five feet of new snow has accumulated at the higher elevations of the park, including the search area. Additionally, strong winds have created extremely hazardous search conditions.
The Park initiated an aerial search on Tuesday, Dec. 18, and efforts continued throughout the week. Approximately 60 personnel assisted in the air search, including Search and Rescue teams from Yosemite National Park, California Highway Patrol (CHP), and Civil Air Patrol (CAP). Search teams flew approximately 8,000 linear miles over the search area.
Snow accumulation from this storm, in addition to the existing snow on the ground, has halted search operations for the remainder of the winter season. The park will resume search efforts in the spring of 2013, when weather and snow conditions permit.