Suspected plane crash found to be GPS marker

A report of a possible plane crash in Josephine County on Monday prompted a search that discovered a reference marker used by satellites, not wreckage from a crash.

Josephine County Sheriff Gil Gilbertson said a pilot at the county airport near Merlin spotted something unusual on the side of the hill at about 7:45 a.m. Monday, as a layer of fog and clouds blanketed the area. He reported seeing "something he didn't remember seeing before," and thought it could be a crashed plane, the sheriff said.

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

Timberland Logging of Ashland sent a helicopter to get a better look at the bright, white x-shaped object and confirmed that it was a monument marker that global positioning system satellites reportedly use as a reference, Gilbertson said.

He said this was the second time the marker had been reported as a possible crash. Each time, searchers must check the area to make sure no crash has happened.

Gilbertson said officials want to find out more about the owner and purpose of the marker to determine if changes could be made so it isn't again mistaken for a crash.

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