|Subscribe | What is RSS|
Contact: Kathleen Kavalok, 907-246-2104
Contact: Morgan Warthin
Low morning clouds around King Salmon slowed the launch of search efforts on Wednesday. By midday, clouds cleared and search efforts were again underway. At the end of the day, rescuers had not seen any sign of the missing plane, pilot or passengers.
To date, a total of 17,500 miles have been flown by incident searchers which results in an estimated 10,000 square miles of ground area.
Today, aerial efforts to locate the plane and missing employees again will follow a grid pattern. By flying in a north to south pattern and focusing on high priority areas, rescuers hope to have “new eyes” on the search area. The US Coast Guard continues to search the coast and the Civil Air Patrol is working on the northern search areas.
The NPS Alaska Incident Management Team, led by Incident Commander Richard Moore, is assisting Katmai National Park by managing the search efforts for the missing aircraft and persons on board. “The team is providing a great service and we thank them and all other participants in the search for their efforts,” said Ralph Moore, Superintendent of Katmai National Park and Preserve.
The single engine floatplane, a deHavilland Beaver operated by Branch River Air Service in King Salmon, carried the pilot and three National Park Service maintenance employees and has been missing since Saturday afternoon. The missing employees are Mason McLeod, 26, and two brothers, Neal Spradlin, 28; and Seth Spradlin, 20. The pilot is Marco Alletto, 47, from King Salmon.
Ten dedicated incident aircraft, (three helicopters and seven fixed wing) along with volunteer aircraft and aircraft from the Alaska Air National Guard, US Coast Guard and the Civil Air Patrol will participate in the search. The multi-agency effort includes the National Park Service, U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service, Alaska Air National Guard, Alaska State Troopers, U.S. Coast Guard, as well as local air taxi operators.
There has been a gallant response from the pilot community with offers to assist in search efforts. Due to safety and communication concerns, pilots are asked to contact Katmai National Park, at 907-246-3305 to coordinate any search efforts.
The search began late Saturday afternoon after the Beaver failed to return to King Salmon. Two planes owned by Branch River Air Service in King Salmon flew to Swikshak Lagoon on Saturday to pick up an NPS maintenance crew working there preparing for the reconstruction of an old ranger station. Three people were picked up by the Beaver at 1:45 p.m., and a second plane left Swikshak 15 minutes later. The second plane, with two employees and pilot on board, returned safely but had to fly much of the way 500 feet above ground level due to deteriorating weather conditions.
Katmai N.P is about 300 miles southwest of Anchorage.
Visit www.nps.gov/katm for more search information.