Missing plane passengers have Tahoe ties
September 6, 2005
INCLINE VILLAGE – North Shore resident Kaye Shackford is asking for any information about her missing brother and niece, who disappeared in a private plane Aug. 31.
Retired emergency room physician Roy Grossman, 56, and his daughter, Claire, 17, of Napa, Calif., were returning home from a dude ranch vacation in Jackson Hole, Wyo., when they landed in Jackpot to refuel for their final leg of the trip.
The pair were scheduled to land in Davis, Calif., sometime on the evening of Aug. 31.
“The last we heard, (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 began.
Ten planes searched a 500-mile flight path Friday and Saturday for signs of the missing plane, said Civil Air Patrol Capt. Gene Hill, who is also the sheriff of Humboldt County, Calif.
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As of press time Tuesday, the aircraft had not been spotted. The plane did not have a flight plan nor was it registered on radar because neither are required for private pilots flying in good weather, 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.
The Nevada Civil Air Patrol and the California Civil Air Patrol are also helping with the search.
“They were flying a Piper Super Cub very low at 1,000-1,200 feet above ground level,” said Shackford. “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 high desert, two densely wooded areas – Humboldt County and the Lake Tahoe Basin – are would-be sites for the plane to have gone down, Shackford said.
“Here we are, day six (of the search), and nothing. Nothing,” Shackford said. “We’re running out of time.”
Grossman 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.
If anyone saw Dr. Grossman or Claire Grossman or the plane on Aug. 31, contact Scott Lilley at (775) 336-9113 or the family at (775) 832-5300.
– The Napa Valley Register contributed to this report
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