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Contact: Kathleen Kavalok, 907-246-2104
Contact: Adrienne Freeman, 907-246-2104
Click here to view a detailed map of the terrain in Katmai National Park and Preserve. You will leave this nps.gov website. The map was created by Tom Patterson at Harpers Ferry Center.
King Salmon, AK. The search continues today for a missing floatplane in Katmai National Park and Preserve after inclement weather grounded Friday's operations for most of the day. Searchers are concentrating today on completing aerial grid searches and targeting areas where the plane may have disappeared. The single engine floatplane, a deHavilland Beaver operated by Branch River Air Service in King Salmon with the pilot and three National Park Service maintenance employees has been missing since Saturday, August 21, 2010. 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.
In an unrelated incident, searchers already in place were able to respond at approximately 7pm to the report of a fisherman who had been separated from his group in the American Creek area of the park. The fisherman was picked up and safely reunited with his group after a brief search by a National Park Service helicopter.
Dedicated and contracted Department of Interior aircraft, along with volunteer aircraft and aircraft from the Alaska Air National Guard, US Coast Guard, Civil Air Patrol, Alaska State Troopers, and Alaska Fire Service have participated 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, U.S. Department of the Interior Aviation Management Directorate, Federal Aviation Administration, and National Transportation Safety Board, as well as local air taxi operators and others.
As in all park operations, the safety of searchers and the public is the top priority. Inclement weather, limited visibility, and rough and varied terrain throughout the 14,000 square mile search area contribute to the complexity of the search. Anyone who was monitoring radio traffic or heard a signal from an Emergency Locator Transmittor (ELT) on 121.5 MHz between August 21 and today around the Katmai/Kodiak area is asked to contact Park Dispatch at 907-246-3305. Additionally, visitors and staff who were in the Katmai/Kenai area during that time period are asked to contact authorities whether or not they saw any evidence of an aircraft. Doing so can help determine where searchers should focus their efforts.
Editor's note: Photos are available upon request