NEVADA CITY, Calif. August 23, 2016 – A “mystery” plane circling the South Yuba canyon for hours on end over the past four days has raised many questions and the ire of some locals.
Identified by its expired tail number, speculations about the mission were rampant. Drug enforcement, secret military training operations were cited as possible reasons for the very early morning fights. Flight tracking apps showed the turboprop taking off from Beale AFB yesterday and Fresno early this morning.
The real reason for the figure-eight flight pattern is the search for evidence in the shooting of a Placer County Search&Rescue volunteer earlier this month.
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The plane is now operated by the Air National Guard, which explains the expired civilian registration. According to Jeff Pettitt, Captain with the Nevada County Sheriff’s Office, the National Guard has deployed the plane with some very efficient remote sensing equipment to assist NCSO with the investigation.
“The terrain is so steep, you just can’t get down there safely,” Pettitt said. “They can see where we can’t go.”
The mission will be wrapped up later today or tomorrow.