Missing Aircraft Search in Sierra County

April 19, 2017 – Shortly after midnight on April 18, 2017 our agency was notified by the State of California Office of Emergency Services of an overdue aircraft. The aircraft, a Socata TB-20 Trinidad, tail #N28070 departed from the Truckee-Tahoe Airport in Truckee, CA with two persons on board at approximately 4:00pm on Monday. Family members reported the aircraft overdue that evening when the aircraft did not arrive at its destination of Petaluma Municipal Airport.

The four-seat low wing aircraft has a dark blue colored upper, gold trim, and white lower. Although it is equipped with an emergency locator transmitter, no satellite hits have come in from the beacon. The beacon is also capable of transmitting a localized low-power signal, however no signal has been heard.

The Civil Air Patrol and U.S. Air Force Rescue Coordination Center conducted radar analysis and cellular phone forensics overnight which narrowed the search to an area located near Yuba Pass Road between Webber Lake and Jackson Meadows in Eastern Sierra County. Search response was delayed until daylight Tuesday morning due to inclement weather and the general remoteness of the search area.

The Sierra County Sheriff’s Office Search & Rescue team as well as members of the U.S. Forest Service based out of Sierraville, CA deployed members on snowmobiles but were unable to reach the search area due to the condition of the snow pack. The Civil Air Patrol responded with rescue volunteers from Palo Alto and Sacramento. Multiple Civil Air Patrol aircrafts and the California Highway Patrol helicopter H-20 performed aerial searches over the search area when weather permitted and until sundown but were unable to locate the aircraft.

On Wednesday April 19, 2017 at approximately 6:00am search efforts resumed involving the Sierra County Sheriff’s Office Search & Rescue team, multiple Civil Air Patrol aircrafts, California Highway Patrol helicopters H-20 and A-23, and the addition of the Nevada County Sheriff’s Office Nordic Team.

Passengers of the aircraft were reported to be pilot Brenda Richard and her husband Mark Richard.

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