By Jennifer Jenks
Just before 3 p.m. Wednesday afternoon, May 30, the Oregon Wing of the Civil Air Patrol located a possible crash site and reported it to Lake County Incident Command.
An Oregon National Guard HH-60 Blackhawk helicopter was dispatched to the scene and confirmed the tail number of the airplane was that of Tony Nicholls’. The occupant was deceased. The aircraft wreckage was at 6,500 feet in elevation on the west face of Hart Mountain. The location of the crash is approximately 13 miles northeast of Plush.
Nicholls, 48, of Meridian, Idaho, went missing Thursday night, May 24, shortly after 5 p.m. in his 1978 Grumman Cheetah.
Agencies and resources working the search included the Harney County Sheriff’s Office. According to Harney County Sheriff Dave Glerup, the office provided ground crews and flew three or four times around the Catlow Valley area helping in the search. Glerup said it had snowed 12 inches on Hart Mountain after the plane went missing, which made it hard to search for the aircraft (which was white). The plane was located after the higher temperatures caused the snow to melt.