The 6th day of searching is underway for Tony Nicholls, 48, of Meridian Idaho who went missing Thursday night shortly after 5 P.M. in his 1978 Grumman Cheetah.
Skies are clear in the search area today which encompasses more than 4000 square miles. Lake County Sheriff Phil McDonald continues to request resources and searchers remain fully engaged, indefinitely, at this time. The Incident Command Post is located at Adel, Oregon.
The search area includes diverse terrain in the high desert including tablelands and plateaus, heavily forested mountains, and canyons. There had been snowfall in some of the search area since Thursday night, which adds additional difficulty in seeing a white airplane. Snow received this past weekend is rapidly melting today as temperatures warm upwards of 75 degrees in Lakeview.
Friends and family of Tony Nicholls have set up a Facebook page in order to help coordinate supplies, resources, and support of the agencies working the search. Additionally, many private citizens are expressing the desire to help search. At this time, officials are asking that citizens not self-dispatch but to coordinate with search managers about their capabilities, their availability and their equipment. The Facebook page Find Tony Nicholls can be found at www.facebook.com/FindTonyNicholls
A tip line has been set up, to contact investigators, for anyone who may have heard or seen an aircraft in the area East of Lakeview Thursday between 5 and 6 P.M. The tip line can also be used to leave a message for citizens wishing to assist in the search.
The tip line is 541-883-5130 Ext. 603
Agencies and resources working the search include:
- Lake County, OR Sheriff’s Office
- Oregon Emergency Management
- Klamath County, OR Sheriff’s Office
- Emergency Airlift (Helicopter)
- Josephine County, OR Sheriff’s Office
- Curry County, OR Sheriff’s Office
- Deschutes County, OR Sheriff’s Office
- Harney County, OR Sheriff’s Office
- Washoe County, Sheriff’s Office
- Siskiyou County, CA Sheriff’s Office
- Modoc County, CA Sheriff’s Office
- Bureau of Land Management
- US Department of Fish and Wildlife
- US Forest Service
- Oregon Department of Forestry
Search managers are sending out a state-wide request for assistance from all Oregon Sheriffs at this hour
The Civil Air Patrol continues to provide fixed wing search planes based out of the Lakeview Airport.
The Oregon Army National Guard’s Charlie Co., 7-158 Aviation continues to provide two aircraft and crews in support of civilian authorities conducting the search and rescue. One is an OH-58 Kiowa helicopter, which is being used as a spotter aircraft, while the other is a HH-60 Blackhawk helicopter, which is the newest model in the Oregon Army National Guard’s aviation inventory, and utilizes FLIR (Forward-Looking Infrared) technology.
The HH-60 Blackhawk helicopter incorporates upgraded T700-GE-701D engines and improved rotor blades. It also features state of the art electronic instrumentation, flight controls and aircraft navigation control. The unit is based at the Maj. Charles L. Deibert Facility in Salem, Ore.
More information will be provided as it becomes available.
News Release from: Klamath Co. Sheriff’s Office