The pilot of a small plane that crashed in the Bitterroot Mountains of Idaho has been confirmed dead.
The single-engine, homebuilt Lancair Legacy plane was flying from Richland, Washington, to Baker when it was reported missing Monday morning. A helicopter from Two Bear Air in FlatheadCounty was dispatched and located the wreckage near BlackleadMountain at roughly 11:30 a.m.
BlackleadMountain is eight miles due west of LoloPass in the rugged ClearwaterNational Forest.
Clearwater County Sheriff Chris Goetz said the downed plane was within 150 feet of Forest Service Road 581.
Goetz said his office was notified by the Missoula County Sheriff’s Office when the plane disappeared from radar.
Two Bear Air, an aviation support company based in Whitefish, was in the Hamilton area assisting with the search for a missing firefighter who later turned up alive and well.
“They were only 14 minutes from the last-known coordinates of the plane, so they flew over and actually hoisted paramedics down to the wreckage and confirmed that there was one deceased,” said Goetz, adding there was a coroner with the crew on the Two Bear helicopter.
A Forest Service helicopter in Powell, Idaho, on fire reconnaissance was also dispatched to help with the search.
Goetz said his office will release the name of the pilot once he is positively identified.
Initial radio calls came over the police scanner at 9:54 a.m. Monday reported that the plane was down south of Helena.
Multiple Montana Highway Patrol troopers and a couple of local deputies were dispatched to look in various mountainous areas near Helena, but Idaho Search and Rescue authorities located the wreckage around noon, Lewis and Clark County Sheriff Leo Dutton said.