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Authorities: No evidence of missing or crashed plane near Geyserville

The search for a plane reportedly in distress Thursday night was called off Friday after investigators said they received no report of a missing aircraft.

"There was no search (Friday) because there were no further reports of any missing persons," said Lt. Clint Shubel. "We checked with FAA and a bunch of surrounding counties. No flights were unaccounted for."

Multiple agencies were called to the remote hills northeast of Geyserville Thursday evening after someone reported seeing a plane flying erratically and trailing smoke.

Sonoma and Lake county sheriff's investigators, as well as crews from Geyserville and Cloverdale fire departments were at the scene for hours Thursday night, looking for signs of a downed plane. A REACH medical helicopter was summoned from Concord to provide infrared technology to assist in the effort.

The search area was in the Mayacamas Mountains separating Sonoma and Lake counties, about 10 miles northeast of Geyserville in the area of the Geysers and Mitchell roads.

"We searched and searched until there wasn't much area to search," said Geyserville Fire Chief Paul Pigoni.

"There was no signal, no missing plane, no whatever. We were just wasting time," Pigoni said of his decision to pull his crews from the search Thursday night.

In a most crashes, the impact will result in an emergency signal being sent from the aircraft, Pigoni said. No such signal was received by any area agency, he said.

After the initial report, investigators found all incoming and outgoing aircraft at the Charles M. Schulz-Sonoma County Airport were accounted for. Airport officials in Healdsburg and Cloverdale also were contacted, as were officials in Oakland and Sacramento. The Lake County Sheriff's Office checked with officials at Lampson Field Airport.

No one reported a missing craft.

(Staff writer Brett Wilkison contributed to this story. Staff Writer Kerry Benefield can be reached at 526-8671, kerry.benefield@press democrat.com or on Twitter @benefield.)


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