Sheriff: Merlin-area object a marker, not wreckage

A closer look at something spotted on a hillside near the Illinois Valley Airport in Merlin has confirmed that the object is a marker used as a reference by satellites.

Timberland Logging of Ashland sent a helicopter to get a better look at the bright, white, x-shaped object after a pilot at the airport in Merlin reported a possible plane crash when he saw the object through the fog and cloud cover, Josephine County Sheriff Gil Gilbertson said.

"Even through binoculars it looked like an aircraft," he said.

The high-altitude monument marker is a reference point used by GPS satellites.

— Anita Burke

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