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Pilot reported missing after leaving Ashland for California destination

Officials are looking for an overdue plane that never arrived at the Orland airport after it took off from Ashland.

Posted: Oct 21, 2021 2:40 PM
Updated: Oct 22, 2021 12:29 PM

GLENN COUNTY, Calif. — A Northern California man remains missing on Thursday after he took off in a small plane from Ashland but never arrived at his destination in Orland, California.

According to an update from the Siskiyou County Sheriff's Office, Orland resident William Bushling left Ashland around 9 a.m. on Wednesday, headed south. He was flying a black Cessna 150 with the tail number N5268Q.


Photo courtesy of Harry Bushling

When Bushling was overdue for arrival in Orland, the Trinity County Sheriff's Office contacted their counterparts in Siskiyou County and asked that they check out local airports for the Cessna. Trinity County said that they had received a request for an emergency landing, but the plane never arrived.

Siskiyou County deputies were unable to locate Bushling's plane. According to Trinity County, the last known location of Bushling's phone via cell tower triangulation or "ping" was an area northeast of Dunsmuir and south of where Highway 89 joins I-5. The ping was recorded around 8 p.m. on Wednesday night.

The Sheriff's Office said that it has mobilized its search and rescue team to scout out the last known location of the pilot's phone.

"There are many federal, state and local agencies working to locate the pilot and his plane," the Sheriff's Office said. "It is still unclear if the plane had to perform an emergency landing somewhere or if the plane and pilot are safe and sound and just unable to call in."

A friend of Bushling contacted the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) to make the initial report.

The Leidos Flight Service, a third party to the FAA, was also notified and advised law enforcement within 50 kilometers of the airplane’s departure and arrival locations to locate the plane.

The Glenn County Sheriff said there is a missing person report for Bushling and the plane in Glenn County and Trinity County.

The Siskiyou County Sheriff's Office put out a call for information on Thursday, asking the community if they saw or heard a low-flying aircraft between 11 a.m. and 7 p.m, on Wednesday from the Highway 89 intersection of I-5 south of Castella and along the I-5 corridor east to Girard Ridge. 

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