BAJA SEARCH FOR MULEGE AIRCRAFT OF GARY AND PEGGY THOMAS
Nov. 3, 2006, Ron Grant, Mulege, Baja California Sur, Mexico:
Most Mulege locals are saddened this week regarding Gary and Peggy Thomas whose fishing reports are featured in Mexico Fishing News and Western Outdoor News.
On the 23nd of October they took off from Mulege's Hotel Serenidad heading for their home in the Stockton, Calif., area and their plane completely disappeared. It was a week later, the 30th, when someone called the Serenidad and wanted to know if they were still in Mulege.
Gary and Peggy have a place at the Serenidad just a few spaces from mine. Great people, very well liked and a part of the Mulege community. I fished with them the day before on their boat.
The weather was bad the morning of their departure. They were going to leave at 11 a.m. in their Beach Bonanza and I was planning to leave at 9:30 a.m. in my twin Cessna. We had lightning and thunder most of the night from an off-shunt of the storm south, Paul.
As is normal, the power in the Mulege area went off just after 6 a.m. and we did not have the benefit of TV satellite giving us an idea what was ahead of us or what was taking place with the storm overhead.
I talked to Gary that morning. We had light rain with overcast skies. Gary elected to take off right away at about 9 a.m. By the time I got my place secured, the rain was getting heavier. I began to taxi out for takeoff and Gary returned to Mulege advising me that they hit heavy rain, lightning, and restricted visibility, and returned to the Serenidad.
Understand that I fly a much different type aircraft than his. I have a lot more instruments, and I am a retired airline captain with over 20,000 hours.
Once I was off the ground my instruments showed the big storm cell just east of the Baja and I elected to climb to a higher than normal level and proceed up the center of Baja. I did hit light to heavy rains and very restricted visibility for the next 125 miles.
Gary and Peggy remained on the ground until about 11 a.m. and then departed, to date never to be seen or heard of again.
They were going to take Don Johnson's daughter, Diana, her husband and their daughter, but Gary was concerned about weight for takeoff so I told him that I was fine and would be glad to take them in my airplane. They were with me but could have easily been with Gary and Peggy.
A week after the fact, a search began but, as of this date, there have been no signs of any wreckage.
(See "Mexico Fishing News" online for current fishing reports, photos, weather, and water temperatures from Mulege and other major Mexican sportfishing areas. Vacation travel articles, fishing maps and seasonal calendars, and fishing related information for Mulege may be found at Mexfish.com's main Mulege page.