Search continues for airplane in suspected crash near New Idria

The furnace at the New Idria mercury mine was the first-of-its-kind, revolutionizing the way mercury was mined forever.

Authorities are searching for a plane they believe crashed this week somewhere near New Idria, according to a statement from the San Benito County Sheriff’s Office.

At about 11:40 a.m. Thursday, the sheriff’s office received a call of an “overdue plane from the U.K.” flown by a single occupant, Ron Ratliff, who had been delivering the twin engine Beechcraft Bonanza to the San Jose airport. The Federal Aviation Administration reported that it went missing about 8 p.m. Thursday over the Diablo Mountains near New Idria and Clear Creek, according to the sheriff’s office.

The county’s search and rescue unit was joined by deputies and two fixed-wing airplanes, from the California Highway Patrol and the Civil Air Patrol.

The sheriff’s office reported that based on the last known location, speed and altitude, the crash site is likely within a 10-mile radius between New Idria and Highway 25 in the Diablo Mountains. 

The sheriff’s office reported it “will continue to search for the missing pilot until we reach a natural conclusion.”

Anyone with information should call (831) 471-1163.

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