Search continues for missing airplane

Posted: Sunday, June 29, 2003

ANCHORAGE (AP) The search continued Friday for a plane with three people aboard missing between the Alaska Peninsula and Homer.

Seven planes were out looking Friday for the red and white Cessna 180 that left Hallo Bay on Wednesday afternoon and was due into Homer around 4 p.m.

The plane was piloted by Bert Novak, a retired Northwest Airlines pilot. Novak is from Palmer and has flown with the Iditarod Air Force, said Lt. Col. Steve Politsch of the Air National Guard.

Also aboard were a husband and wife from Florida, Politsch said. Their names were not released.

The Alaska Air National Guard and the U.S. Coast Guard searched Wednesday night. The Civil Air Patrol joined the effort Thursday morning, but as of Friday evening, no trace of the plane had been found, officials said. The Department of Fish and Game also was involved in the search.

The route the Cessna was flying was roughly 120 miles, about half over water, said Maj. Chris Kobi of the Rescue Coordination Center.

The Cessna was not on floats, officials said.

''They have not spotted anything related to the aircraft,'' Sgt. Gail Paculba, a search and rescue coordinator at the RCC, said Friday night.

She said searchers have retraced the plane's flight path, searched the surrounding areas and any other routes the pilot may have taken to avoid bad weather.

''We are trying to hit anything we can think of,'' Paculba said.

She said search planes would be out again Saturday.

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