Possible Airplane Crash

February 18, 1976
San Jacinto Mountains

Author: Walt Walker

RMRU was contacted by both individuals and agencies concerning an airplane overdue and presumed down. There had been rain and cloudy conditions when the plane was reported missing.

A search plane had reported a signal stamped out in the snow. I talked to the pilot of the search plane, and from his description, it sounded like Tahquitz Valley.

After discussing it with Captain Ray Canova, of the Banning office of the Riverside County Sheriff's Department, it was decided to try and do something that evening. He obtained the use of a Hughes 500c helicopter from the San Bernardino County Sheriff's Department. He rode in the bird as an observer, but due to very strong winds they were not able to fly low enough for the search light on the bird to be very effective.

The following morning a Marine helicopter flew to Tahquitz Valley, only to find a pattern in the snow created by blocks having been cut from the snow to make an igloo by weekend skiers. Our part of the mission was canceled.