Local Information

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

Saturday, November 16, 2019 - 12:02

Barbara LaBoe, communications, 360-705-7080, 360-701-1464 (mobile)

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.

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