Santa Maria Sun / News
The following articles were printed from Santa Maria Sun [santamariasun.com] - Volume 14, Issue 18
Yosemite hiker finds missing pilot's plane
By AMY ASMAN
On July 7, park rangers recovered the body of Nicol Wilson—the Santa Barbara County pilot whose plane went missing over Yosemite National Park on Dec. 17, 2012.
A hiker spotted Wilson’s single-engine plane, which was largely intact, near Vogelsang High Sierra Camp on July 6 and reported it to authorities. Park rangers hiked to the location the next day and positively identified Wilson.
Park spokesman Scott Gediman said rangers matched the downed plane’s tail numbers with Wilson’s prior to making the positive ID. The park is working with the National Transportation Safety Board to determine the cause of the crash. Once the investigation is finished, rangers will start removing debris from the high country. Wilson’s body has already been returned to his family.
Wilson was flying on Dec. 17, 2012, from Santa Ynez to the Mammoth Lakes airport on the east side of the Sierra Nevada Mountains when he encountered a powerful winter storm. The Yosemite Search and Rescue Team launched an extensive search effort for Wilson and his plane, but had to suspend it after a few days because of bad weather. Park officials started the search again in the spring, and they’ve been looking for Wilson consistently over the past several months.
The park’s Helitack crew—a helicopter-based emergency services crew—was assisted during the search operation by the California Highway Patrol, Civil Air Patrol, California Emergency Services, and YoDogs, a canine search and rescue unit.
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