Monday, July 16 , 2018, 12:07 pm | Fair 71º


Local News

Still No Trace of Missing Plane from Santa Ynez

A second full day of searching on Thursday turned up no trace of the plane piloted by a Solvang man that disappeared earlier this week over the high country of Yosemite National Park.

Searchers, working mainly from the air, have scoured 600 square miles of rugged terrain between 8,000 and 12,000 feet of elevation, said Kari Cobb, a Yosemite ranger.

“No clues or signs of the aircraft have been discovered,” Cobb said.

The plane, which was en route from the Santa Ynez Airport to Mammoth Yosemite Airport near Mammoth Lakes, disappeared over the North Dome area of the park about 12:30 p.m., Cobb said.

“We got another foot of snow after that,” Cobb said, “and there already was a lot of snow.”

The pilot — the only person believed to be on board — has been identified as Nicol Wilson, who is in his late 60s.

He was reported missing by his family Monday night when he failed to show up in Mammoth, Cobb said.

FAA records show that a Mooney M20F aircraft — a four-seat, propeller-driven plane — is registered to a Nicol S. Wilson of Solvang.

A spokesman for the Santa Ynez Airport confirmed the plane was based there, and said no signal has been picked up from the aircraft’s emergency locator transmitter.

North Dome is located along the Tioga Pass Road, which is inaccessible from the ground this time of year due to snow.

Aerial search conditions Wednesday and Thursday were good, with clear skies, Cobb said. But a strong winter storm is expected to hit the region Friday, bringing up to 4 feet of new snow to higher elevations.

“We’ll search the area until the weather stops us …” Cobb said. “If that’s the case, we may have to say we’ll resume (the search) in the spring (once the snow melts).”

She added, however, that no decision has been made regarding the duration of the search.

Cobb noted that a California Highway Patrol helicopter has flown 825 miles over the search area, while Civil Air Patrol (CAP) fixed-wing aircraft have flown 2,214 miles.

Some 60 personnel are assisting in the air search, she said, including search-and-rescue teams from Yosemite National Park, the CHP and the CAP.

Noozhawk executive editor Tom Bolton can be reached at .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address). Follow Noozhawk on Twitter: @noozhawk, @NoozhawkNews and @NoozhawkBiz. Connect with Noozhawk on Facebook.

Support Noozhawk Today

You are an important ally in our mission to deliver clear, objective, high-quality professional news reporting for Santa Barbara, Goleta and the rest of Santa Barbara County. Join the Hawks Club today to help keep Noozhawk soaring.

We offer four membership levels: $5 a month, $10 a month, $25 a month or $1 a week. Payments can be made through Stripe below, or click here for information on recurring credit-card payments and a mailing address for checks.

Thank you for your vital support.

Become a Noozhawk Supporter

First name
Last name
Enter your email
Select your membership level

Payment Information

You are purchasing:

Payment Method

Pay by Credit Card:

Mastercard, Visa, American Express, Discover
One click only, please!

Pay with Apple Pay or Google Pay:

Noozhawk partners with Stripe to provide secure invoicing and payments processing.

  • Ask
  • Vote
  • Investigate
  • Answer

Noozhawk Asks: What’s Your Question?

Welcome to Noozhawk Asks, a new feature in which you ask the questions, you help decide what Noozhawk investigates, and you work with us to find the answers.

Here’s how it works: You share your questions with us in the nearby box. In some cases, we may work with you to find the answers. In others, we may ask you to vote on your top choices to help us narrow the scope. And we’ll be regularly asking you for your feedback on a specific issue or topic.

We also expect to work together with the reader who asked the winning questions to find the answer together. Noozhawk’s objective is to come at questions from a place of curiosity and openness, and we believe a transparent collaboration is the key to achieve it.

The results of our investigation will be published here in this Noozhawk Asks section. Once or twice a month, we plan to do a review of what was asked and answered.

Thanks for asking!

Click Here to Get Started >

Reader Comments

Noozhawk is no longer accepting reader comments on our articles. Click here for the announcement. Readers are instead invited to submit letters to the editor by emailing them to [email protected]. Please provide your full name and community, as well as contact information for verification purposes only.

Daily Noozhawk

Subscribe to Noozhawk's A.M. Report, our free e-Bulletin sent out every day at 4:15 a.m. with Noozhawk's top stories, hand-picked by the editors.

Sign Up Now >