Search continues in Citrus for missing pilot - WFLA News Channel 8

Search continues in Citrus for missing pilot

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Theofore Weiss, 74, and his experimental aircraft. Hernando Sheriff's Office Facebook photo Theofore Weiss, 74, and his experimental aircraft. Hernando Sheriff's Office Facebook photo

More than 125 people turned out Wednesday morning to help with the search for a 74-year-old pilot who vanished during a flight from Marion County to Zephyrhills over the weekend.

On Wednesday evening, ground crews stopped their search for Theodore Weiss. Aviation units continued to look throughout the night.

Weiss took off in his experimental aircraft from the Dunnellon Airport in Marion County on Saturday, April 5 and planned to land in Zephyrhills. On Monday, the Marion County Sheriff's Office was notified that Weiss never landed in Zephyrhills.

Search crews fanned out early Wednesday morning to resume their search which is concentrated in the Withlacoochee State Forest in Citrus County.

Commander Buddy Grant says crews from Citrus, Marion, Hernando, and Levy Counties as well as the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission are on the ground and in the air.

Grant says the search is extensive. "This is a huge area, probably about a 200 square mile area that we're trying to cover," he said. "Fairly densely wooded in a lot of areas. We have wet areas, we have high sand scrub, and we really know his last known point but beyond that it's wide open."

Grant says Gainesville radar was the last to pick up Weiss' plane, but Tampa radar never did. He says there's a radar 'dead zone' in between the two, and that's where the search is focused. He says Weiss did not radio that he was having any issues. At this point authorities don't know if the plane went down or if Weiss landed somewhere else.

Anyone who may have seen the plane overhead on Saturday is urged to give the Citrus County Sheriff's Office a call.

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