Due to bad weather, they landed their single-engine prop Piper Lance aircraft at Grand Junction, Colo. where the Lethbridge-area men spent Wednesday night, said Bill Kaupp's daughter Jaime Metzger. The other passengers were Tim Mueller, 28, and Ron McKenzie, 66, according to Jon Kaupp.
A family member in Canada said the pilot texted him Thursday morning saying they were taking off from Grand Junction, but the plane never arrived in New Mexico, and calls and texts to the people on board went unanswered.
Her father, said Metzger, had been flying off and on for the past 30 years and was an extremely careful aviator.
"I started calling around to different airports down there, trying to figure out where they might be", he said.More news: Police advocacy group says it opposes arming teachers
More news: Little River reaches major flood stage Friday afternoon
More news: CM condemns attack on Minister's brother, 3 arrested
"Thank you from the bottom of my broken heart to every first responder, person who shared info on social media, and anyone who helped give us hope today".
By early evening, Kaupp contacted the U.S. Air Force Rescue Co-ordination Center to report the plane as missing. On Friday, search-and-rescue crews detected a signal from an emergency transmitter near the state line between Colorado and Utah.
The Piper Lance fell off the radar Thursday morning after leaving the Grand Junction Regional Airport on its way to Albuquerque.
The U.S. Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) told CBC News that crews were searching for a Canadian-registered Piper Lance plane, whose last known position was Grand Junction en route to Albuquerque.