UPDATE: Family 'relieved' search for missing plane finally over - KSFY News - Sioux Falls, SD News, Weather, Sports

UPDATE: Family 'relieved' search for missing plane finally over

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UPDATE (Dec. 3, 5 p.m.)

Search and rescue groups in Utah announced Sunday they found the wreckage of a plane heading from Bakersfield, Calif., to Gillette.
 
The family of the passengers who perished in the crash say they're relieved to know what happened, even though it leaves a long struggle ahead of them.

Myra Fees went to church Sunday morning, praying for the search for her daughter to be over.
 
"I started getting text messages from my kids to call home as soon as possible," Fees told us over the phone Monday morning. "They wouldn't tell me anything, but I knew in my heart."
 
The Utah Civil Air Patrol had found her daughter, 34-year-old Trista Meyer, in the wreckage of a plane crash.

Also in the debris were Meyer's 9-year-old daughter, Shyann Lenz; and the pilot, 37-year-old Matthew Ahrens, Meyer's boyfriend.
 
"I wanted them to be home safe," said Fees, "but it wasn't God's will."
 
In some ways, she said, it's a relief.
 
"We know they're not out there in the cold and they're not hungry and thirsty and calling for us."
 
The anguish of the week-long search is over, but it's still just the beginning.
 
"All I could do this morning was hold their pictures and kiss them and cry," Fees said through tears.
 
Yet through the grief, a pledge to the departed: "It's all part of life, so we have to go on. And they would want us to," she said. "It's going to be hard."

The family plans funeral services in both Gillette and Meyer's hometown of Piedmont before burial in the family cemetery.

UPDATE (Dec. 3, 12:25 p.m.):

The family of the three people found dead in the wreckage of small plane headed for Gillette say they're relieved to know what happened.
 
Searchers in central Utah found the plane crash Sunday morning.

Sevier County Sheriff Nathan Curtis said rescuers recovered the bodies of 37-year-old pilot Matthew Ahrens, 34-year-old passenger Trista Meyer, and her 9-year-old daughter, Shyann Lenz.

Meyer's mother, Myra Fees, was in church Sunday morning when family members sent her text messages asking her to call.

They wouldn't give her any information in the texts, but she said she knew right away.

And although she told KOTA she's relieved to know what happened, that doesn't make it any easier.
 
"All I could do this morning was hold their pictures and kiss them and cry," Fees said in a phone interview Monday morning. "I've been wiped out all morning. It's all I can do."
 
The medical examiner planned to release the bodies to the family Tuesday around noon.

The family will hold services in Gillette and Meyer's hometown of Piedmont before burying them in the family cemetery.

ORIGINAL STORY:

The Utah Civil Air Patrol confirmed to KOTA Territory News the Gillette plane missing since last Sunday crashed in the mountains east of a refueling station.

The plane was carrying Gillette resident Trista Meyer, 34; her 9-year-old daughter, Shyann Lenz; and Meyer's boyfriend, 37-year-old Matt Ahrens. There were no survivors.

Lt. Col. Jon Niedfeldt, the incident commander with Utah CAP, said the plane was found about 14 miles east of the Fillmore airport, in Sevier County, just before the border with Millard County.

Local public safety departments and the National Guard assisted in the week-long search in rough terrain and bad weather that hampered rescue efforts.

The National Transportation Safety Board and the Sevier County Sheriff's Office will conduct an investigation into what caused the crash.

Stay with KOTA Territory News for updates as they become available.

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