A single engine plane en route from Colorado to Washington County has gone missing, with a family of four on board.
Pilot Tommy Jacomini, 42, of Houston, his wife Susie, and their seven-year-old son Tommy and five-year-old daughter Vivi have been missing since Friday.
Saturday, relatives gathered at the Jacomini family farm in Winedale, in western Washington County. Tommy and Susie Jacomini have a second home there, as do Tommy's parents.
The Jacomini's relatives say the family was vacationing at a home owned by Susie Jacomini's parents, in Steamboat Springs, Colorado. They planned to leave Colorado Friday morning and land in Brenham around 8:30pm.
According to relatives, the Jacominis flew out of Steamboat Springs heading southeast towards Kremmling, in their 2005 single engine Cessna 182.
They say the airport had been in communication with Tommy Jacomini about 15 minutes after their 9am take off. The family believes Tommy was in the process of filing a flight plan.
The plan was not completed because the airport lost all communication with the Jacomini plane during the conversation. The plane reportedly was lost on radar, though that is not uncommon due to the mountains in that part of the country. However, the plane did not reappear on radar.
Tommy Jacomini's parents, Tommy senior and Beverly Jacomini had planned to pick the family up at the Brenham airport Friday evening, but say they never received a call that the family was en route.
Steamboat Springs airport officials told relatives they believe the plane was 50 miles away from the runway when they lost communication. Since a flight plan was not filed, no one is exactly sure the route pilot Tommy Jacomini planned to take.
Relatives say the seasoned pilot rented the Cessna in Colorado. Airport officials told the family they don't believe the craft's emergency locator transmitter, or ELT, was activated.
"There's a report of an ELT going off in the panhandle, near Dalhart (Texas) and we don't know whether thats his or not," said Don Ervin, the pilot's uncle. "Some people say that that could be a logical route for him to take, there are a lot of different ways they could have gone."
"If something happened to his communication like lightning striking near the plane while they were in flight it could have knocked their communication out and they could have gone further down to the panhandle."
Relatives say the Colorado Mounted Rangers have been dispatched the area, as well as Texas EquuSearch, a mounted search and recovery team. Beverly Jacomini says Susie's relatives have hired helicopters from her hometown of Laredo to scour the area. She says several friends of Tommy's are also assisting.
Relatives of the Texas family are hoping Colorado residents who saw anything unusual will contact authorities.
"Gosh, if you saw anything unusual in the sky if you see anything unusual on the ground, anything unusual at all that might indicate there's a downed plane, please let us know," said Ervin.
A spokesman for the Colorado Civil Air Patrol tells the Denver Post they are searching a 30,000 square mile area with three planes, but as of 5 p.m. Mountain Time, they hadn't had any luck finding the plane.
"They're wonderful people," said Ervin. "Everyone's heart is broken that we can't contact them, that we haven't been in contact with them. We're hoping for the best and terrified about the worst."
"Many times people are found by interested folks who might know something or might have seen something and if there are any of you out there, please let us know," said Ervin.
Relatives say rescue efforts were hampered by weather conditions in Colorado on Saturday. They are hoping rescue teams can begin again at daybreak Sunday.
The family says pilot Tommy Jacomini comes from a family of recreational pilots and has been flying for 25 years.
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