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Missing plane’s wreckage found in Wyo.

Associated Press / November 3, 2010

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LANDER, Wyo. — The wreckage of a small plane carrying four members of a Minneapolis family has been found in a rugged Wyoming mountain range a week after it disappeared, and searchers said there were no survivors.

A search team found the plane late Monday at an elevation of about 11,000 feet on a steep mountainside in the Wind River Range, the Fremont County Sheriff’s Department said.

Luke Bucklin, 40, was piloting the plane, and his 14-year-old twins, Nate and Nick, and 12-year-old son Noah were passengers.

The coroner’s office said work would begin yesterday to recover the bodies.

Flying in a single-engine Mooney 20J, the Bucklins left the Jackson airport in a snowstorm Oct. 25 and disappeared from radar about an hour later.

The wreckage was found about a mile east of its last reported location, in the Fitzpatrick Wilderness Area of the Shoshone National Forest, officials said.

The plane was partially covered in snow.

Bucklin’s wife issued a statement yesterday thanking the search teams for their work and relatives and friends for their support.

“Our heroes throughout this ordeal are the incredibly courageous search team, men and women who have worked tirelessly over the past week to find our boys,’’ the statement said.

Luke Bucklin was president and cofounder of Sierra Bravo Corp., a website-development company based in Bloomington, Minn.

Bonnie Harris, a friend of the Bucklins, said the family had been in Jackson for a wedding and a vacation. Luke Bucklin’s wife, Ginger, and their youngest son had gone home on a commercial flight.

Harris said the search team called Monday night to say the wreckage had been located.

“This is a sad time,’’ she said. “The love and support of loved ones and their faith in God is giving them strength and comfort.’’

Bad weather had hampered the search and forced two search teams to spend the night in the mountains after helicopters could not land safely to retrieve them.

Searchers had detected a radio signal Thursday that they thought was from the missing plane, but it wasn’t immediately clear yesterday what the beacon’s source had been, officials said.

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