David Scott Partlow vanished while paragliding. He was last seen at Blaine Mountain on 8th May 1987. Partlow was 29 years old. Partlow and three other friends took off from Blaine Mountain, northeast of Kalispell, on 9th May 1987. His friends flew south but strong winds knocked Partlow off course and to the North.
Davids brother Tim said, “His glider wasn’t made for extreme conditions and he got sucked up. His friends watched him turn into a little speck in the sky.” This was the last time anyone would have eyes on David.
Over two days 80 people would search for David including two helicopters but on 13th May the search was called off. The weather was extreme and it was decided there was no way David could have survived. At this point, they didn’t know if David had made it to the ground in a controlled way or not. The Undersheriff at the time, Gary Franklin said in the Chronicle on May 12th 1987, “We felt if he would have survived in that, we would have found him by now”
Several weeks later a pilot would see something shining on the east side of Columbia Mountain in the Flathead National Forest. It would later turn out to be the wing of Partlow’s hang glider sitting in a clearing surrounded by thick brush, about seven miles north of where he and his friends took off. The glider was in good condition which suggests a controlled landing.
Partlow’s parachute had been deployed but it was not sure if this had been used as a blanket or some sort of cover. Either way, he made it down and he was alive because he was nowhere to be seen. On the ground was his backpack with some supplies.
On the ground was deep snow but searchers never found a body. They would find pieces of a down vest and a sock down the mountain that they believe were Partlow’s.
Partlow was declared dead in 2019 but his body has never been found. Nothing has ever been found and David Scott Partlow simply Vanished.