HARRISON COUNTY, TX (KSLA/KLTV) - The search continues in Wyoming for a plane that's registered to an East Texan that went off the radar Tuesday night.
Crews are searching for a 2005 Piper-PA-32 that took off from the Harrison County Airport bound for Casper, Wyoming, that did not arrive as planned Tuesday night.
Search crews are now working under the assumption that the plane is downed.
The search resumed Thursday morning by land, as weather is affecting attempts to search by air.
Albany County sheriff's officials said Thursday the search is focusing on Laramie Peak north of Laramie because that is where radar operators lost contact. It's an area of rough terrain, says Albany County Undersheriff Rob DeBree. "It's extremely rough. In the area they were last noted on radar would have been in excess of 9,000 feet."
"Currently we have 36 ground searchers that are going into the area, which is going to be approximately 5 miles to hike in to where we want to focus our search." DeBree says the focus area includes a ridgeline."It's extremely, extremely hard. We had people up there yesterday that were on ATVs and you can only go so far with those. That's how rugged it is."
A military chopper launcher at 3 p.m. Thursday, and they will launch another helicopter mission Thursday night.
The FAA investigation is paused until the plane is located. An FAA spokesperson says the investigation is now led by the Wyoming Civil Air Patrol and the Wyoming National Guard.
Management with CW Ford Rentals in Marshall said the company's owner, Chuck Ford, was one of four people on the plane heading to Casper, Wyoming. Ford also owns the plane.
Also on board, Billy Gee, owner of Bayou Aviation and operator of a flight school located at the county airport; Maverick Cayces, a pilot and employee at the flight school; and James Morgan.
Since it was a private and not a commercial flight, the Federal Aviation administration says the pilot was not required to file a flight plan. According to the FAA, the last known position of the aircraft was about 60 miles southeast of Casper.
Friends and family of the missing men have organized a prayer vigil at Telegraph Park in Marshall, TX at 6 p.m. Thursday evening.
"It's such a tragic thing that we don't know what has happened. We don't know where our friends are," said Tiffany Perrine, a friend of Morgan.
Perrine also said she has faith the four missing men are still alive.
Stay with KSLA News 12 for continuing coverage on-air and on ksla.com.
Click here for a link to a Facebook page setup by one of the family members of the missing men.
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