Dr. Bill Mott and his family were on their way to Whistler in more ways than one when their small plane dropped off the radar screen in an approach to Penticton Airport on the last day of the year 2000.
A subsequent two-day search was hampered by thick fog but when skies cleared Tuesday, Jan. 2, rescue workers located what was left of the twin-engine Piper Aerostar.
It had crashed in stormy weather near the summit of Okanagan Mountain, on final approach to the airport. There were no survivors.
Mott, reportedly an experienced pilot, was flying with his wife Kathy from Salt Lake City, Utah to Whistler to ring in the new year. Also on the plane were his son, his sons girlfriend and two pet dogs. Two daughters were not on board the flight.
Mott was a prominent orthopedic surgeon from Pocatello, Idaho, said Whistler friend Noel Villard.
The doctor had bought a parcel of land in Taluswood and had just started building a home in Emerald.
Villard said he was planning to live six months of each year in Whistler.
Although a recent arrival, Mott had already formed some firm friendships locally. He was Rotary Millennium Club member and he recently moved Whistler club members to tears with a talk on a medical clinic in Peru where he had been volunteering his skills.
"He was also very involved in the Salt Lake City Olympics and he was planning on getting involved in the medical end of things here," said Villard who enjoyed a six-day canoe trip with Mott, Barry Johnson and Doug Forseth last summer.
"A lot of us had become very good friends with him."
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