Former Drake student missing after plane disappears - KWWL - Eastern Iowa Breaking News, Weather, Closings

Former Drake student missing after plane disappears

MOIESE, MONTANA (KWWL) -- A former Drake University student is among four people missing after a small plane went missing in Montana.

Authorities say the pilot may have been flying too low when the plane was last seen near the Flathead River.

Radar data from the Federal Aviation Administration put the 1968 Piper single-engine aircraft's altitude at 300 feet when it was last tracked west of the National Bison Range on Sunday.

Lake County sheriff's spokeswoman Carey Cooley says several witnesses report it may have been flying even lower than that.

FAA spokesman Mike Fergus says the minimum altitude is 500 feet.

Rick Weaver, publisher of the Daily Inter Lake newspaper of Kalispell, Montana, says two of his reporters, Melissa Weaver and Erika Hoefer, were on the plane when it disappeared Sunday afternoon.

Hoefer, 27, began working at a Beloit, Wisconsin newspaper in 2005 after graduating from Drake University and then moved on to Montana.

Beloit Assistant Fire Chief Tim Curtis says that Hoefer's father is a retired firefighter and that her parents are in Montana awaiting their daughter's return.

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