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Utah County Sheriff's Office gets new search and rescue plane

Posted at 5:20 PM, Jan 22, 2022
and last updated 2022-01-22 19:20:36-05

SPANISH FORK, Utah — From the shores of Utah Lake to the mountain tops of the Wasatch, the Utah County Sheriff’s Search and Rescue team has a lot of ground to cover.

That's why their airplane is one of their most important tools. But it's now more than 60 years old, and it's coming to the end of its life.

“We do a tremendous amount of flying,” said Gary Winterton, a pilot for the sheriff's office. “Over the last few years, [the plane] just takes more and more maintenance to keep it in the air, and so it's kind of run its time.”

So it was time for something new.

Earlier this week the sheriff’s office received a delivery of a brand new airplane that will be a huge asset in working to find those who go missing in the county.

“Over the last couple of years, more and more people, as they've been home through what we've been going through. are venturing out into the outdoors and it's just kind of doubled our workload in terms of going out and finding people that are out in the backcountry,” Winterton said. “[The new plane is] fast enough to get out to, you know, corners of the county really quick, but then slow down and fly slow and safe.”

The plane is operational and is ready to head out on any and all future search and rescue missions.