Santa Barbara, CA

The Plane That Never Returned: The Missing Flight Of Nancy Branch

The Vivid Faces of the Vanished
Nancy Elizabeth BranchThe Charley Project

Nancy Branch was a 1984 Stanford University Graduate of psychology. She later obtained a position at Advanced Micro Devices in Sunnyvale, California. There, she met Kevin Clarke, and the two began dating. The couple enjoyed traveling, playing racquetball, and diving together, the Charley Project reports. 29-year-old Nancy and 31-year-old Kevin were friends with another couple. 29-year-old Alan Stewart and 31-year-old Amy Haxton were newlyweds. The pair had been married for six weeks and planned a honeymoon in South Africa in January of the following year.

Kevin and Nancy were recently engaged, and the foursome decided to take a weekend vacation in Santa Barbara, California. On the morning of December 6, 1992, the group boarded a single-engine Piper Archer airplane and departed from the Santa Barbara Airport. They were flying to the Palo Alto, California Airport, and one of the couples wanted to get back to purchase a Christmas tree. The plane left in "treacherous" weather conditions, the Charley Project reports. They were scheduled to arrive in Palo Alto by noon, and the plane was cleared for takeoff. About eight minutes after the plane departed, all communication stopped. There were no indications from the pilot that there was trouble on board the single-engine plane.

Authorities, including the Coast Guard, launched an extensive search and rescue operation for the plane and its occupants. They received a tip that the plane crashed near the Big Basin area of California, but no evidence has ever been found. The plane and its passengers have never been located.

Many officials believe the plane crashed and the occupants are deceased. The travelers and pilot remain listed as missing because no remains or evidence of a crash has ever been found.

If you have any information, please contact the Menlo Park Police Department at 650-858-3317.

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