BOX ELDER COUNTY, Utah, Jan. 7, 2018 (Gepardt Daily) — Box Elder County Sheriff’s personnel have found an object in the Great Salt Lake they believe may be an airplane that went missing Dec. 29.
Divers from Weber County planned to search the north arm of Great Salt Lake after the object was spotted Saturday, officials said.
Weber County Search and Rescue posted on Facebook Saturday evening: “Helping Box Elder the past couple days running sonar in the Great Salt Lake looking for a plane that went missing a week ago. Today we got a target we need to check further. Our dive team will be checking the object tomorrow. Hope we are successful and can bring closure to the family.”
According to a news release from Box Elder County Sheriff’s Office released Sunday, crews reassembled to dive down to a possible aircraft found resting on the bottom of the lake in about 14 feet of water. However, ground fog moved in and hampered efforts to navigate to the location, along with “additional equipment that caused delays.”
“Due to these multiple problems, there was no time left to start, let alone complete, the dive,” the news release said. “Due to some severe equipment issues and weather, the dive has been postponed until a time yet to be determined. Several factors need to be considered and discussions with personnel need to take place to make that decision. The upside to today’s efforts is that the object was unequivocally identified as an airplane of the general size and description of our Cessna 172.”
The search for the missing aircraft widened to the Great Salt Lake last Sunday, according to a news release from the Box Elder County Sheriff, when a Department of Parks and Recreation boat began patrolling the area.
The plane’s two occupants are pilot Denny Mansell, 71, and his passenger, Peter Ellis, 74.
Family members said the men left Ogden-Hinckley Airport at about 3:30 p.m. Dec. 29 in a red and white Cessna 172, No. N4395R, planning to fly to the Promontory area and view the trains at Golden Spike Historic Site from the air. They expected to return to Ogden by about 4:30 p.m. the same day.
The news release states that Box Elder Communications was contacted at about 9:20 that night with a report of the overdue plane. A check of local airports was requested.
Search and rescue crews have patrolled on the ground, while the Department of Public Safety helicopter and Civil Air Patrol searched from the air.
Gephardt Daily will have more on this developing story as information becomes available.