Make us your home page

Today’s top headlines delivered to you daily.

(View our Privacy Policy)

Renewed search of Chassahowitzka for missing Zephyrhills pilot turns up nothing

WEEKI WACHEE — A renewed search in Hernando County for missing Zephyrhills pilot Theodore Weiss was called off Tuesday afternoon after searchers said they had exhausted all leads.

Hernando County Sheriff's Office spokeswoman Denise Moloney said that 19 searchers from the Hernando Sheriff's Office, the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission and the Florida Forest Service spent several hours combing the Chassahowitzka Wildlife Management Area in an area of dense forest near U.S. 19 and Centralia Road, north of Weeki Wachee, in response to signals from an emergency locator transmitter.

Over the weekend, Civil Air Patrol pilots began picking up weak and erratic signals that they thought could be coming from Weiss' missing aircraft. Weiss, 74, was reported missing on April 7. He had taken off from Dunnellon/Marion County Airport in a small kit plane two days earlier but never arrived at his destination in Pasco County.

His small, white and green two-seat Sonex plane disappeared from radar over the Withlacoochee State Forest. Searchers spent six days searching the woods of Citrus and Hernando counties but found no trace of the pilot or his plane. The Hernando Sheriff's Office suspended the ground search on Saturday evening.

According to Maj. Joseph Tomasone, a spokesman for the Florida wing of the Civil Air Patrol, pilots in recent days had detected several signals from emergency transmitters in the area, including a weak and intermittent signal believed to be coming from somewhere within Chassahowitzka, several miles west of the original search area. Tomasone said the signal could be from the missing plane, but he couldn't be certain. A weak signal is indicative of a transmitter with a very low battery, he said.

Given the weak signal and dense forest, finding the source would be a tall order, Tomasone said.

Moloney said the Sheriff's Office would continue to track down any leads it receives.

Staff writer Logan Neill contributed to this report. Danny Valentine can be reached at [email protected] or (352) 848-1432. On Twitter: @HernandoTimes.

Renewed search of Chassahowitzka for missing Zephyrhills pilot turns up nothing 04/15/14 [Last modified: Tuesday, April 15, 2014 9:25pm]
Photo reprints | Article reprints

© 2017 Tampa Bay Times


Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

  1. Former Jabil executive's fate in hands of murder trial jury


    LARGO — For a second time, Patrick Evans' future is the hands of a jury.

    Patrick Evans talks with Allison Miller, one of his three public defenders, before jury selection this w eek. Evans, a former Jabil executive charged with killing his estranged wife and her friend almost 10 years ago, is back in court for a second trial after his original death sentence conviction was overturned by the Florida Supreme Court. JIM DAMASKE   |   Times
  2. Hillsborough designates $17 million for Irma debris removal and repairs


    TAMPA — The Hillsborough County Commission voted Wednesday to spend $17 million from the county's Catastrophic Disaster Recovery Fund to remove debris left by Hurricane Irma and to fix damaged facilities.

  3. Five jump from burning boat near Gandy Bridge


    TAMPA — Five people jumped from a boat that caught fire near the Gandy Bridge Wednesday afternoon, 10News WTSP reported.

  4. Gourmet food fight between top chefs raises $200,000


    ST. PETERSBURG — The chefs came armed with their secret ingredients — pork rinds, truffle butter, pork bellies.

    (From left to right) Chefs Ryan Mitchell, Michael Buttacavoli, Ted Dorsey and Matthew Brennan compete during Tampa Bay Food Fight at The Coliseum in St. Petersburg on Tuesday. The event features chefs from the Tampa Bay area and benefitted Metropolitan Ministries. EVE EDELHEIT   |   Times
  5. HSN star Joy Mangano promotes new book: Inventing Joy


    ST. PETERSBURG — After more than 30 years, Joy Mangano knows a thing or two about promoting products. Now she's promoting herself.

    Inventor and entrepreneur Joy Mangano is releasing her first new book, Inventing Joy on Nov. 7. [TIERRA SMITH | Times]