Search for group that includes Sun Prairie man suspended - WKOW 27: Madison, WI Breaking News, Weather and Sports

Search in Idaho for group that includes Sun Prairie man suspended


BOISE, Idaho (WKOW) -- Air and ground crews have suspended their search for a plane missing in Idaho's backcountry since December 1. Five people were on board the plane, including a man from Sun Prairie.

Mel Coulter, of the Idaho Transportation Department, said aircraft had been flying as late as Wednesday over rugged mountains where the single-engine Beechcraft disappeared, about 150 miles north of Boise. But worsening conditions and safety concerns nearly two weeks after the plane vanished prompted crews to "reluctantly" halt operations Thursday.

Jonathan Norton was among the passengers, along with his fiance, Amber Smith. Her brother, Daniel, and her father, Dale, were also on the plane, along with Daniel's wife. Dale Smith was piloting the aircraft.

Norton is from Sun Prairie and is a student at Brigham Young University-Idaho.

They group was from Baker City, Oregon to Butte, Montana.

Dale Smith reported engine trouble and sought information about the location of a backcountry landing strip where he hoped to put the plane down safely.

Family and friends of those aboard the plane who have also been searching announced this week their efforts were winding down, too, though they predicted that efforts would eventually resume as conditions become more conducive.

According to Federal Aviation Administration records, Dale Smith, an executive and co-founder of San Jose-based SerialTek, obtained his pilot's license in 2005.

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