Tuesday, November 12, 2019

WSDOT searching in Colville area for missing plane

By Barbara LaBoe

FINAL UPDATE
Saturday, Nov. 16, noon

Search for missing Colville pilot concluded with discovery of body Saturday morning

COLVILLE - The search for a missing Colville pilot and his plane has been concluded after a local resident discovered the body of the pilot in Sullivan Lake on Saturday, Nov. 16.

Terry Coleman, 67, flew out of the Colville Municipal Airport around noon Monday, Nov. 11, intending to return in about an hour. Family notified authorities when he did not return and the search began Monday evening.

Search crews, coordinated by the Washington State Department of Transportation, focused on the area around Sullivan Lake and the town of Ione based on the length of time Mr. Coleman was expected to fly, a ping of his cellphone recorded on a tower in nearby Metaline Falls and radar that showed a plane in that general area at the time he would have been flying. (The radar could not identify whose plane it picked up, just that a plane or planes had been in the area).

Crews from several local agencies and Search and Rescue groups searched the area both by air and on the ground. Low visibility, rain and snow prevented planes and helicopters from flying on several days of the search, but they were used whenever it was deemed safe to send them out. Ground crews worked throughout the area, including in tough, steep terrain.

This is not the resolution anyone hoped for and our thoughts are with the Coleman family and loved ones, some of whom worked with searchers in the week-long effort to find Mr. Coleman and his Cessna 182 Skylane. The local communities have been incredibly supportive both of the family and the search crews during the trying days of the search.

WSDOT also is very thankful for all those who gave of their time or expertise during this search mission. Agencies who assisted in the search include: The Pend Oreille County Sheriff's Office and Search and Rescue (SAR); the Stevens County Sheriff's Office and SAR: the Spokane County Sheriff's Office and SAR; the Civil Air Patrol; the Washington Air Search and Rescue; the U.S. Forest Service; U.S. Customs and Border Protection; WSDOT personnel and the Colville Municipal Airport.

This concludes WSDOT's involvement in the mission. Further information will be released by the Pend Oreille County Sheriff's Office. The contact there is Sheriff Glenn Blakeslee at 509-671-3469 or Undersheriff Geoff Rusho at 509-447-1902. Media questions about any investigation of cause can be directed to the National Transportation Safety Board.

Friday, Nov. 15, 6 p.m.

Search suspended for the evening; crews will resume looking for missing pilot and plane Saturday

The search for a missing Colville pilot and plane have been suspended for the evening of Friday, Nov. 15, due to darkness.

Crews will resume their efforts Saturday morning on foot and with search planes if the weather clears to allow planes to fly. We do not plan any further updates this evening.

Photos of the plane Terry Coleman was flying and the difficult terrain searchers are working in have been posted to the WSDOT Flickr site. Anyone who sees the plane or a possible crash site should call 911 immediately. Non-urgent tips can be sent to missingaircraft@wsdot.wa.gov or the search tip line: 206-250-2533.

Friday, Nov. 15, 1 p.m.

Search for missing Colville pilot and plane continues on the ground

Ground crews continue their search for a missing Colville pilot and plane this afternoon, though snow and poor visibility have keep search planes from flying.

It is snowing on the ground at the Colville airport as well as the higher elevations of the greater search area. Search planes have not been able to fly and while ground crews continue their work, the cold, wet weather is an additional challenge.

Photos of the plane pilot Terry Coleman was flying and the difficult terrain searchers are working in have been posted to the WSDOT Flickr site. Anyone who sees the plane or a possible crash site should call 911 immediately. Non-urgent tips can be sent to missingaircraft@wsdot.wa.gov or the search tip line: 206-250-2533.

Friday, Nov. 15, 8:30 a.m.

Search for missing Colville pilot and plane continues

Crews have resumed the search for a missing Colville pilot and his plane this (Friday) morning with ground crews already out in the field and coordinators hoping to send planes up to search as well if the weather holds.

Conditions Friday morning were foggy with rain expected later in the morning. Planes and helicopters were both able to fly Thursday. Decisions on flying search planes Friday will be made based on conditions and crew safety.

Crews are searching an area around the greater Sullivan Lake area in Pend Oreille County for Terry Coleman, 67, who left the Colville airport around noon on Monday, Nov. 11, and was expected to return to Colville about an hour later.

The search for Coleman is being coordinated by WSDOT with assistance of several partner agencies and volunteer Search and Rescue groups who are working in steep, heavily forested terrain with snow in higher elevations. Ground crews are searching on foot and using binoculars to scan areas up to 6,000 feet elevation. Air crews conduct visual searches from the sky look for signs of the plane or any signs of disturbance or possible crash scene.

Photos of the plane Mr. Coleman was flying and the difficult terrain searchers are working in have been posted to the WSDOT Flickr site. Anyone who sees the plane or a possible crash site should call 911 immediately. Non-urgent tips can be sent to missingaircraft@wsdot.wa.gov or the search tip line: 206-250-2533.

Thursday, Nov. 14, 6 p.m.

Search for missing Colville pilot and plane suspended for evening; crews begin again Friday morning

The search for a missing Colville pilot and plane have been suspended for the evening of Thursday, Nov. 14, due to darkness. Crews will resume their efforts Friday morning. We do not plan any further updates this evening.

A break in the clouds allowed two planes and two helicopters to fly as part of the search mission Thursday and ground crews also worked in the greater Sullivan Lake area of Pend Oreille County. Search coordinators hope to search by air again Friday, but with a forecast of rain and clouds overnight it's unclear if that will be possible. All decisions about flying search planes are made based on conditions and crew safety.


Pilot Terry Coleman left the Colville airport around noon Monday, Nov. 11, intending to return in about an hour. Crews have been searching since Monday evening, by air when conditions have allowed, and also on the ground.

WSDOT is coordinating the search and we are thankful for all of the partner agencies and volunteer Search and Rescue groups who have assisted in the search mission – as well as the support the surrounding community has shown for the family and search crews during this difficult time.

Photos of the plane Mr. Coleman was flying and the difficult terrain searchers are working in have been posted to the WSDOT Flickr site. Anyone who sees the plane or a possible crash site should call 911 immediately. Non-urgent tips can be sent to missingaircraft@wsdot.wa.gov or the search tip line: 206-250-2533 – please note this is a new number to be consistent with fliers posted in the local area; calls to the previous one also will be received.

Thursday, Nov. 14, 4 p.m.

Planes, helicopters able to join search for missing Colville pilot and plane

A break in the clouds Thursday afternoon allowed for crews in both planes and helicopters to join the ongoing search for a missing Colville pilot and his plane.

Two Civil Air Patrol crews are flying over the search area as are helicopter search crews from both the U.S. Customs and Border Protection and the Spokane County Sheriff's Office. Weather and poor visibility had restricted the use of aircraft at times in the search, which started on Monday, Nov. 11, so search coordinators were pleased to be able to again include search from the air.

Crews also are searching from the ground, working in tough, steep terrain in parts of Pend Oreille County including the Colville National Forest. There is snow in the higher elevations – some areas are up to 6,000 feet – and temperatures have ranged in the 30s and 20s. Search and Rescue crews routinely respond to tough conditions but it does add extra challenges to their efforts. Likewise, both the heavy forest and snow can add to the challenge of spotting a plane or evidence of a crash for crews searching from the air. A photo of the terrain crews are working in is posted on the WSDOT Flickr site (and included below).


This photo taken from a Civil Air Patrol plane Thursday shows some of the terrain in Pend Oreille County where crews are searching for a pilot and plane missing out of Colville since Monday, Nov. 11. Search efforts also include ground crews working in the heavily forested areas with elevations up to 6,000 feet.

We also have released a photo of the missing plane that pilot Terry Coleman was flying and ask anyone in the area, including hunters, to keep an eye out. Anyone who sees the plane should call 911 immediately. Non-urgent tips can be sent to missingaircraft@wsdot.wa.gov or the search tip line: 206-250-2533 – please note this is a new number to be consistent with fliers posted in the local area; calls to the previous number also will be received.

Thursday, Nov. 14, 2019, noon

Search for missing pilot and plane continues, including air crews

The search for missing pilot and plane out of Colville continues Thursday, including from the air as clouds have begun to break up in the area.

We plan to have two Civil Air Patrol planes flying over the area searching for pilot Terry Coleman and his plane, as well as a U.S. Customs and Border Protection search helicopter. Weather and safety concerns had limited the search to ground crews for a few days as part of this effort.

Ground search and rescue crews also continue their efforts, working in steep terrain in the greater Sullivan Lake area of Pend Oreille County. The search area includes the Colville National Forest and some steep and heavily forested terrain, including elevations above 6,000 feet with snow present and more snow predicted in the coming days. Temperatures have ranged in the 30s and 20s. Search and Rescue crews are used to working in rugged terrain, but it does add challenges to the ground search efforts.

Barring new developments, we expect to send our next search update in late afternoon.

Thursday, Nov. 14, 8 a.m.

Colville area search resumes for missing pilot and plane

Searchers have resumed efforts to locate Colville pilot Terry Coleman and his plane in the Colville/Ione/Sullivan Lake area and are hoping to use both ground and air crews in today's (Thursday, Nov. 14) search.

The search area was determined based on several factors, including that Mr. Coleman was making a local-area flight Monday afternoon and was expected to return to the Colville airport in about an hour. In addition, officials recorded one ping of his cell phone in the general area of Metaline Falls in Pend Oreille County – meaning the phone's system connected to a tower, not that he was placing a call. Radar in the area also recorded a plane in the Sullivan Lake area at around the time he would have been flying, but it does not indicate if it was his plane. Mr. Coleman's plane had an emergency locator beacon but no signals have been detected.

Civil Air Patrol may fly in the area as part of the search today, but it is dependent on weather and visibility, which has been a challenge during the search. All decisions on flying are based on conditions and crew safety.

WSDOT is coordinating the search. Ground crews from Pend Oreille County Sherriff's Office, the Border Patrol, US Forest Service and DOT personnel also are searching the area, though it has some very steep terrain with snow in the higher elevations. More perception, including snow, is predicted in the coming days.

Barring new developments, we hope to have another update on the search around lunchtime.

We have released a photo of the missing plane that Terry Coleman was flying and ask anyone in the area, including hunters, to keep an eye out. Anyone who sees the plane should call 911 immediately. Non-urgent tips can be sent to missingaircraft@wsdot.wa.gov or the search tip line: 360-410-0461.
This is a photo of the missing Cessna 182 Skylane plane near Colville provided by the family. (We do not have an ID for the man in back of the photo). Anyone who sees it or evidence of a crash should call 911. Non-urgent tips can be
emailed to missingaircraft@wsdot.wa.gov or the search tip line: 360-410-0461.

Wednesday, Nov. 13, 6 p.m.

Colville missing plane search suspended for the evening; search begins again Thursday morning

Crews have suspended the search for the Colville missing pilot and plane for the evening due to safety concerns for crews in the dark. Crews will resume searching Thursday morning and no further updates are planned for this evening.

Clearing weather allowed a plane to fly overhead as part of the search Wednesday afternoon and we hope to use more on Thursday if conditions allow. All decisions on flying are based on weather, visibility and crew safety. Ground crews will also continue to search in the area between Colville and the town of Ione and the Sullivan Lake area. WSDOT is coordinating the search and is thankful for the all of the partner agencies working on the effort, as well as the support from the tight-knit community of Colville and the surrounding area.

We have released a photo of the missing plane that Terry Coleman was flying and ask anyone in the area, including hunters, to keep an eye out. Anyone who sees the plane should call 911 immediately. Non-urgent tips can be sent to missingaircraft@wsdot.wa.gov or the search tip line: 360-410-0461. We do not have a photo of Mr. Coleman to release.

Wednesday, Nov. 13, 4:30 p.m.

Search for missing plane in Colville continues; aircraft able to join efforts

Crews continue to search Wednesday for a missing pilot and plane out of Colville this afternoon.

A single aircraft from the Washington Air Search and Rescue, a volunteer pilot search group, were able to fly over areas west of Colville. Visibility was clear at 5,000 feet, though still low visibility closer to the ground.

Due to poor visibility closer to the ground, other search aircraft are being staged at the Deer Park Airport, 50 miles south of Colville. All decisions about flying will be made based on conditions and crew safety.

Ground crews continued to focus their search efforts between Colville and the Ione/Sullivan Lake area. We are receiving aid from several agencies including Border Patrol, the Stevens County Sheriff's Office, Spokane County Sherriff's Office, Pend Oreille County Sheriff's Office and the Forest Service, in the search for Terry Coleman, 67, of Colville and his Cessna 182 Skylane Plane. WSDOT is coordinating the search.

Mr. Coleman did not file a formal flight plan, nor was he required to for his flight. Based on where he was believed to be flying, however, crews have narrowed the search to the northeast near the town of Ione and nearby Sullivan Lake. Coleman took off around noon on Monday, Nov. 11, and planned to return to Colville in about an hour. His plane had an emergency locator beacon onboard, but no signal has been detected.

We have released a photo of the missing plane and ask anyone in the area, including hunters, to keep an eye out. Anyone who sees the plane should call 911 immediately. Non-urgent tips can be sent to missingaircraft@wsdot.wa.gov or a newly established tip line: 360-410-0461. We do not have a photo of Mr. Coleman to release.

Search efforts will be suspended for the day when it becomes dark. We expect to post the next update about the search later this evening.

Wednesday, Nov. 13, noon

Search for missing plane in Colville continues; new tip line number established

Crews continue to search Wednesday for a missing pilot and plane out of Colville, focusing their search between Colville and the Ione/Sullivan Lake area.

Ground search crews, including the Spokane County Search and Rescue, have been out all of this morning searching for Terry Coleman, 67, of Colville and his Cessna 182 Skylane plane. WSDOT is coordinating the search.

While aircraft were unable to fly Wednesday morning as part of the search – due to weather and poor visibility – we do hope to have some aircraft in air later this afternoon. All decisions about flying will be made based on conditions and crew safety.

Mr. Coleman did not file a formal flight plan, nor was he required to for his flight. Based on where he was believed to be flying, however, crews have narrowed the search to the northeast near the town of Ione and nearby Sullivan Lake. Coleman took off around noon on Monday, Nov. 11, and planned to return to Colville in about an hour. His plane had an emergency locator beacon onboard but no signal has been detected and search flights on Monday failed to locate the plane.

We have released a photo of the missing plane and ask anyone in the area, including hunters, to keep an eye out. Anyone who sees the plane should call 911 immediately. Non-urgent tips can be sent to missingaircraft@wsdot.wa.gov or a newly established tip line: 360-410-0461. We do not have a photo of Mr. Coleman to release.

Barring any new developments, we expect to post the next update about the search in late afternoon.

Wednesday, Nov. 13, 8:30 a.m.

Crews continue searching for missing Colville pilot and plane – photo of plane released; tip line and email established

Rescue crews are continuing their search for a missing Colville pilot and his plane and are releasing details about both.

The missing pilot is Terry Coleman, 67, of Colville. He left the Colville airport around noon on Monday, Nov. 11, for what was expected to be a one-hour flight before returning to Colville. His family contacted authorities when he didn't return Monday afternoon. While his plane, a Cessna 182 Skylane, did have an emergency beacon, no beacon signals have been received. Two flights overnight Monday did not locate any sign of the plane.

We are releasing a photo of Coleman's plane in case anyone has seen it in the area. It is also available for download on the WSDOT Flickr site: https://flic.kr/s/aHsmJnSKCq. The photo was provided by the family. We do not have an ID for the man shown in the background.

Searchers worked on the ground Tuesday due to poor weather and visibility concerns. A decision about flying search planes or helicopters today, Wednesday, is still being made and will depend on conditions and safety of crews.

WSDOT is coordinating the search and working with area law enforcement and search and rescue groups. Searchers are focusing on an area between Colville and the town of Ione and nearby Sullivan Lake, based on where they expected Coleman to fly. The town of Ione is about 40 miles northeast of Colville in neighboring Pend Oreille County. Colville is the county seat of Stevens County.

Anyone in the area, including hunters, is asked to keep an eye out for the plane or any evidence of a crash. However, we do not want residents to form their own search crews at this time as it may interfere with tracking of the official search and rescue crews in the area. We'll let the public know when and if we need more search crews and thank them for the offers and support they've already provided.

If anyone in the area does see a plane or evidence of a crash, please call 911 immediately. Anyone who has non-urgent tips can email them to: missingaircraft@wsdot.wa.gov or call the Stevens County Sheriff's Office at 509 684-2555.

Tuesday, Nov. 12, 6:30 p.m. - final update of the evening

Colville missing plane search suspended for the night

The search for a missing pilot and plane near Colville has been suspended for the night of Tuesday, Nov. 12, due to darkness and concern for searchers' safety. It will resume in the morning and we will not be issuing updates overnight.

Tuesday's search was conducted on the ground due to weather and low visibility. A decision on flying search planes and helicopters Wednesday will be made in the morning based on conditions, forecast the safety of search crews.

Tuesday, Nov. 12, 4:30 p.m.

Missing plane search continues in Colville

The search for a missing plane and pilot continues in the Colville area with search crews working on the ground due to low visibility that is keeping planes and helicopters from flying.

Wednesday's forecast also calls for fog and low clouds and the decision about flying search planes will be made in the morning based on the safety of crews and conditions. We are working closely with law enforcement in the area to coordinate the search and ensure everyone's safety.

We will update the blog again this evening if the plane and pilot are located or when searchers stop for the night.

Tuesday, Nov. 12, 12:30 p.m.

Search continues for missing plane in Colville

Search efforts continue for the missing plane and pilot in the Colville area.

Due to weather and visibility concerns, this is will be a ground mission and we are coordinating with Search and Rescue teams out of Stevens and Spokane counties in those efforts.

Anyone who with information about the plane can call in tips to the Stevens County Sheriff's Office at: 509 684-2555.

Updates to the search will be shared here as well as an opt-in/opt-out Air Search and Rescue email alerts listserve.

Sign up for email alerts



The Washington State Department of Transportation is searching for a missing plane in the Colville/Stevens County area in Eastern Washington.

The pilot and sole occupant of the small, private plane left the Colville Municipal Airport around noon Monday, Nov. 11, planning to fly in the area for one hour before returning to Colville. The pilot's family reached out to authorities when the pilot did not return as scheduled.

No emergency beacon signals or other distress signals have been recorded in the area. Two search flights, including the Spokane County Sheriff's Office helicopter, searched the area overnight and were unable to locate any sign of the plane.

WSDOT Aviation Search and Rescue is leading the search effort and coordinating with area law enforcement. Colville is approximately 70 miles north of Spokane in the northeast corner of the state and is the county seat of Stevens County.

The pilot is a 67-year-old Colville man flying in his Cessna 182 Skylane. At this time no other details about the plane and pilot are being released. Updates on the search will be posted on this blog as they become available.

WSDOT, by statute (RCW 47.68.380), is charged with the coordination and management of all aerial search and rescue within the state. The agency works in conjunction with volunteer search and rescue groups, law enforcement and other agencies in carrying out such searches.

7 comments:

S&B Winterowd said...

We would like to know how to help with the search?? Do you need folks on the ground? Food for searchers? We feel helpless but want to be involved in bringing him home safe.
Sue and Brett Winterowd

Jeremy B said...

Thank you for your concern. The community and local volunteers have been very helpful and at this time we do not have a need for any ground searchers or other assistance. We will keep you posted on any needs that do arise.

Unknown said...

Prayers GO out to everyone.

Unknown said...

If anyone in Chewela.. Deer Park.. Or Nine Mile Falls is needed please let us know!!

Purpleladyflutterby said...

Have the guys at DART been involved? That's a lot of extra eyes you could get in the air helping out.

WSDOT said...

Chewela, Deer Park or Nine Mile Falls, thank you for your offer and support. We’ll keep people posted but you can also email missingaircraft@wsdot.wa.gov with your location and contact info and they’ll keep it on file if they do need assistance in that area.

WSDOT said...

Thanks for the DART suggestion. We will absolutely call in more resources as needed, but we also need to be sure we don’t disrupt the search missions underway. (Weather and limited visibility has also restricted all flights for part of the search). You can email missingaircraft@wsdot.wa.gov with contact information and we’ll keep that on hand in case do need to call in more resources.

WSDOT comment policy

Post a Comment