Police searching for pilot of stolen plane

Police searching for pilot of stolen plane
YAKIMA, Wash. -- Investigators are trying to find whoever stole a plane from San Juan County and landed it at the Yakima Nation reservation.

The incident began Wednesday afternoon with what officials thought would be a rescue mission for a pilot in distress.

The single-engine Cessna was found on tribal land largely undamaged, but the pilot was no where to be found. Searchers scoured the area with dogs and search teams from the sheriff's office until word came that the plane was stolen.

"It's been stolen from San Juan County and that changes the circumstances now," said Yakima Nation Tribal Council Chairman Ralph Sampson Jr. "It's not a search and rescue effort, now it's a crime scene."

Sampson told the Yakima Herald newspaper that the plane's owner told investigators he thought the plane was still in its hangar when they called to find out why it was on the reservation.

The pilot has not been found, and high winds in the area on Wednesday were making the search difficult, officials said.

Yakima County sheriff's detectives are assisting tribal police with the investigation.