Crews in Elko County search for airplane that vanished on way from California to Salt Lake City

ELKO COUNTY, Utah — Search and rescue crews and the Civil Air Patrol are searching for a small aircraft that went missing while on the way from California to Salt Lake City.

Sgt. Nick Czegledi of the Elko County Sheriff’s Office said they were notified Thursday night about an airplane that went missing in their jurisdiction, and the search has focused on the Ruby Valley mountain range.

Czegledi said a 26-year-old commercial pilot from Mississippi was flying a 2-engine Piper aircraft.

Search crews responded Thursday, but it was too dark to search and efforts resumed Friday with assistance from air resources. The Civil Air Patrol thought they spotted something Friday, but when crews returned Saturday they did not locate anything at that location.

“We conducted a low and slow flight, focusing really heavily on the last ping,” Czegledi said of the search effort.

Search efforts are ongoing Sunday and will continue Monday if the airplane is not found.

Czegledi said weather may have contributed to the pilot’s failure to arrive in Salt Lake City.

“There were reports of some potential icing issues on the wing, and there was some really heavy wind that night,” he said.

The pilot’s identity has not been released. Fox 13 News will update this story as more details emerge.