SAN JUAN COUNTY, Utah — A Colorado man died Thursday morning in a plane crash in the La Sal Mountains in San Juan County.
According to the San Juan County Sheriff’s Office, 62-year-old Miles Reece was flying from an airport in Durango, Colo. to the Idaho backcountry for a camping trip with a friend, who is also a pilot and was flying a separate plane.
Reece and his friend, New Mexico resdident Douglas Berry, planned to rendezvous in Brigham City to refuel on their way to Idaho.
According to a statement from the San Juan County Sheriff’s Office, Berry was ahead of Reece and the two pilots were in radio contact with each other, but did not have visual contact.
Both planes could be seen on a radar system in Grand Junction, Colo. but were no longer visible as they crossed into the La Sal Mountains, the statement said.
Berry’s plane came back into radar view as it cleared the mountains, but Reece’s did not.
Berry also lost radio contact with Reece, the statement said, so he turned around and flew back to the area where he had last spoken with Reece.
Unable to make contact with Reece, Berry continued to Brigham City, where he waited for several hours before contacting authorities to report the missing plane.
The San Juan County Sheriff’s Office deployed its own plane and was aided by a Utah Department of Public Safety helicopter and two civil air patrol planes to conduct a visual search for the missing aircraft, the statement said.
Reece’s plane, a 1958 fixed wing, single engine 175 Cessna, had crashed into the mountainside. He died on impact.
No one else was aboard the plane.
The Federal Aviation Administration will conduct an investigation to determine what caused the plane to crash.