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Search Expanded into Wyoming for Missing Gillette Plane

Erik Brouwer, Flickr

Update 11:25 a.m. Thursday: The search continues for a Gillette-based Piper PA-28 aircraft that has been missing since Sunday.

Maj. Jeanne Stone-Hunter says Civil Air Patrol officials Thursday will focus their search on southwestern Wyoming.

“We have two aircraft up, one from Casper and one from Gillette, and they’re both working the southwestern part of the state and perhaps Utah,” Stone-Hunter said. “They’re trying to trace flight patterns they may have taken between when they filled up in Fillmore and when they didn’t make it to Gillette.”

Stone-Hunter says the Civil Air Patrol had no luck Wednesday finding the aircraft.

“We searched the most-likely route and had no success,” Stone-Hunter said. “Now we’re searching some alternate routes that would have taken them through some lower passes in the mountains.”

Update 3:40 p.m. Wednesday: Campbell County Sheriff Bill Pownall is asking for additional statewide help on the ground as the Wyoming Civil Air Patrol continues its search for a missing Piper PA-28 based out of Gillette.

Pownall is asking rural landowners and residents from southwestern Wyoming to Gillette to be on the lookout for the missing single-engine aircraft.

“We’re asking the folks in the rural part of the county and across the state to keep an eye out for something out of the ordinary,” Pownall said.

Maj. Jeanne Stone-Hunter says Civil Air Patrol officials have yet to find the aircraft which has been missing since Sunday.


The Civil Air Patrol has expanded its search for a missing Gillette-based single-engine aircraft into Wyoming.

Maj. Jeanne Stone-Hunter is with the Wyoming wing of the Civil Air Patrol. She says the Piper PA-28, which was traveling from Bakersfield, Calif., to Gillette, vanished from radar shortly after refueling in Fillmore, Utah, on Sunday.

Officials in Campbell County say a pilot and two passengers were on board.

Stone-Hunter says the search was formally extended into Wyoming on Wednesday morning.

“We will be, eventually, if we don’t find the aircraft first, searching all the way between Utah and Gillette,” Stone-Hunter said. “We have a plane from Casper with a crew from Casper that’ll be starting a search in the Uinta Mountains.”

Stone-Hunter says crews near both Casper and Gillette will be busy.

“We have another aircraft from Gillette that will join the search and they will do a grid search, which is standard procedure when we really don’t have a clue as to where (the aircraft) went missing.”

The Campbell County Sheriff’s Office has identified the pilot as 37-year-old Matthew Ahrens and the two passengers as 34-year-old Trista Meyer and 9-year-old Shyann Lenz.

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