|Subscribe | What is RSS|
Contact: John Quinley, 907-644-3512
Debris from the plane carrying three National Park Service employees in Katmai National Park was located on the park's rugged northern coast on Tuesday.
Katmai National Park Superintendent Ralph Moore said he was notified by a local helicopter pilot, Sam Egli, that he had spotted portions of the aircraft, including a piece of the tail with identifying numbers, on a narrow section of beachabout 10 miles northwest of Sukoi Bay.
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 August 21.
National Park Service and military personnel are headed to the site this morning to secure the debris and continue the search for additional wreckage. The accident investigation will be conducted by the National Transportation Safety Board.
The employees who were on board the aircraft were Mason McLeod, 26, and two brothers, Neal Spradlin, 28; and Seth Spradlin, 20. The pilot was Marco Alletto, 47, from King Salmon. Egli told the park that there was no indication of survivors.
The discovery of the plane comes after more than a month of aerial and ground searching by national park, military and civilian personnel. More than 60,000 miles of flying was done, at times with more than a dozen aircraft working search patterns over the 4 million acre park. The area where the debris was found had been flown over by the National Park Service as recently as Monday, and rangers had walked the beach just a few miles west of the debris site. High tides and high east winds on Monday and Tuesday are thought to have helped make the debris visible from the air.