Breaking News Blog

Friday, Nov 30 2012 06:51 PM

National Guard starts helping in search for missing plane

By THE BAKERSFIELD CALIFORNIAN

The Utah National Guard has provided a helicopter to aid in the searching for a missing that was carrying three people from Shafter to Wyoming.

"They have a helicopter with some really good abilities," said Utah Civil Air Patrol Lt. Stephen Miller.

On Sunday, Bakersfield native Matthew Ahrens, his girlfriend, Trista Meyer, and her daughter, Shyann Lenz, were en route back home to Gillette, Wyo., after visiting family in Bakersfield and Tehachapi during the Thanksgiving holiday. Ahrens was flying the plane that went missing after refueling in Fillmore, Utah.

A search for the three has been ongoing since Monday. Civil Air Patrol has been flying the routes the group would have taken and has teams on the ground working with local sheriff's offices.

On Friday, the National Guard helicopter was added to the mix. The H60 Blackhawk helicopter is capable of doing high altitude hoists, landing on any peak in Utah and using night vision to fly and hoist when it's dark, according to a news release from the Civil Air Patrol.

On Thursday, the Air Patrol was worried about a coming storm halting the search on Saturday. On Friday, Miller was not sure what the status of the storm was. At about 6:40 p.m. Friday, the teams were busy planning Saturday's mission, he said.

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