Family keeps up search for plane, loved ones

BOISE, Idaho (AP) The official state and local search for a missing plane and its five passengers may have been called off for now, but relatives of those missing in the central Idaho backcountry aren't giving up their own search.

Last week, Idaho officials suspended their ground and air search for a small plane that was flying from eastern Oregon to Montana on Dec. 1 when it disappeared somewhere in the mountains 150 miles northeast of Boise.

On Monday, relatives of those aboard the plane announced they will continue with their own privately coordinated and funded search.

"In an effort to ensure that the search continues, the families of the missing parties have decided to continue," said Brad Norton, uncle of Jonathan Norton, one of the five people believed on the plane.

Also aboard the six-seat plane were its 51-year-old pilot, Dale Smith, a software executive from San Jose, Calif.; his son, Daniel Smith and his wife, Sheree Smith; and daughter Amber Smith, who is described as Norton's fiancee.

For two weeks, state and local crews focused on an area near Yellow Pine and a backcountry landing strip.

Snow, poor visibility and sub-zero temperatures hampered the search.

The family has set up a website for the public to track developments in their search. The website includes recent updates, information for pilots flying over the area and contact information for volunteers heading up the air and ground searches.

State transportation officials say they are prepared to resume the search if credible information about location is obtained.