Search crews from at least two counties called off the search for a missing
Zephyrhills pilot late Tuesday, but will pick it back up again in the morning.
Investigators from Citrus and Hernando Counties, along with several other state and federal agencies, searched parts of the Withlacoochee State Forest for Ted Weiss, who disappeared along with his plane after taking off from Dunnellon Marion County Airport Saturday.
"We are covering every bit of ground from his last known location along what would be his projected path from there, looking for any signs of this aircraft," said Commander Buddy Grant, with the Citrus County Sheriff's Office. "He was headed to Zephyrhills, but his flight path that he was on when they lost radar contact with him indicated more of a flight path towards the Tampa area."
We're told Weiss had flown to the airport in Dunnellon, where there was a festival for pilots like him who fly what's known as a "Sonex," which is a type of homemade plane.
Grant said crews are facing a massive search area.
"It's a mix of Florida scrub-land, heavy, thick, dense forest, some wet areas," he said.
"It will take quite a while to cover this territory thoroughly."
Neighbors in the Colony Hills community of Zephyrhills said they're nervously awaiting any news about their friend.
"At this point I'm very concerned. This is too long. I feel that if he went somewhere to meet someone else or go somewhere, he would have told somebody," said Carolyn McHenry, who last saw Weiss Saturday, before he left for Dunnellon. "It's the way he traveled. He didn't necessarily go by car. He's get in his plane and go and he loved to fly."
"It's hard to just imagine that it just disappeared and I just can't put a finger on what happened," said Richard Greenshields, who lives across the street from Weiss. "The whole thing was kind of a shock that he was missing."
An airline industry expert told FOX 13 that Sonex planes are built with a kit and can take years to build at home. Every plane has to be approved by the FAA before it's allowed to fly.
FOX 13 / WTVT-TV
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