Missing L-39 found

An L-39 that went missing while on a flight from Seattle to Lewiston, Idaho, in 2004 has been found. Hikers found the wreckage in mountainous terrain in eastern Washington several weeks ago, but did not immediately notify authorities because they thought it was an old crash.

According to a preliminary report from the National Transportation Safety Board, the Aero Vodochody L-39C disappeared Oct. 19, while on an IFR flight plan.

The aircraft, which was owned by a civilian, had just received its airworthiness certificate. The pilot had been cleared to his destination at an altitude of 17,000 feet when he radioed that he had a flight control problem and was out of control. No further transmissions were issued.

Remains believed to be that of the pilot and passenger were found at the scene.

As this issue was going to press, the remains and the wreckage were being recovered.

The military aircraft had been painted in the scheme of the Air Force Thunderbirds, making the wreckage difficult to see from the air because the white metal blended into the snow-covered forest.

The cause of the crash has not been determined.

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