Occupants of missing plane have ties to Lake Tahoe
September 6, 2005
INCLINE VILLAGE – North Shore resident Kaye Shackford is sending a call to the community for any information about her missing brother and niece, who disappeared in a private plane last Wednesday.
Retired emergency room physician Roy Grossman, 56, and his daughter, Claire, 17, of Napa, were returning home from a dude-ranch vacation in Jackson Hole, Wyo. on Aug. 31 when they landed in Jackpot, Nev., to refuel for their final leg of the trip.
The pair was scheduled to land in Davis sometime Wednesday evening.
“The last we heard, he (Grossman) called his wife and said they were going to be in Davis in five or six hours and ‘What do you need from Costco?'” Shackford said. “Just a routine check-in.”
But the Grossmans never landed, and a search immediately ensued for the pair.
Ten planes searched a 500-mile flight path Friday and Saturday for signs of the missing plane and its inhabitants, said Civil Air Patrol Capt. Gene Hill, who is also the sheriff of Humboldt County.
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As of Tuesday the pair and the aircraft had yet to be spotted. The plane did not have a flight plan nor was it registered on radar, Hill said.
Hill said Jackpot airport officials said there were no signs of trouble when Grossman and his daughter departed. The plane could hold enough fuel to stay in the air for seven hours. The flight from Jackpot to Davis usually takes no more than five hours.
As the search continues, members of the Nevada Civil Air Patrol and the California Civil Air Patrol are also lending a hand.
“They were flying a Piper Super Cub very low at 1,000-1,200 feet above ground level,” Shackford said. “It is a very unusual looking airplane. It is a high-wing, tail-dragger. It is white with some blue accent stripes. It has a very large engine and very large balloon tires which do not retract when it flies. It is very likely that people noticed it in flight. And more likely someone would see it from the ground.”
While the pair’s flight path was mostly above the plains of Nevada’s high desert, two densely wooded areas – the forests of Humboldt County and the Lake Tahoe Basin – are would-be sites for the plane to have gone down, Shackford said.
She urged locals to keep their eyes open because each passing day leaves the situation more tenuous for the missing.
“Here we are day six (of the search) and nothing. Nothing,” Shackford said. “We’re running out of time.”
Grossman, an experienced pilot who earned his license at 17, and his daughter are both well-acquainted with the outdoors, Shackford said.
“These people are resilient and resourceful people, more equipped to survive than most,” Shackford said. “But time is so important now. For those driving or walking around, let your eyes go out in mountains and hills and trees – we are still searching.”
Anyone who has seen Roy or Claire Grossman or the plane is asked to contact Scott Lilley at (775) 336-9113 or the family at (775) 832-5300.
– The Napa Valley Register contributed to this report.