Search and rescue crews looking for missing airplane in Box Elder County

BOX ELDER COUNTY, Utah -- Search and rescue crews are working near Promontory Point Saturday after an airplane carrying two men was reported missing.

Later Saturday police identified those men as 74-year-old Peter Ellis and 71-year-old Denny Mansell, both of Ogden.

Mansell is listed as the pilot of the aircraft, which is a red and white Cessna 172.

Sgt. Steve Berry with Box Elder County Sheriff's Office said the two men departed from Ogden-Hinckley Airport around 3:30 p.m. Friday and were supposed to return before dark.

The pair was reported missing at 9:20 p.m. and search operations began Friday night with a helicopter and continued Saturday.

The pilot is known to make trips to the Spiral Jetty, and Berry said the pilot may have been planning to fly over Promontory Point, where the Winter Steam Festival is underway. 

Authorities say the terrain they are searching includes a lot of area to cover and many canyons both big and small, which complicates their efforts. Authorities have also checked with nearby airports to make sure the men didn't make an unexpected landing elsewhere.

A Department of Public Safety helicopter is aiding in the search effort along with the Civil Air Patrol. The search remains active Saturday evening and officials say they will continue searching until dark. If the plane has not been found by dark, search efforts will resume again Sunday morning.

Authorities say the two men are friends and that they have contacted their respective families about the search.