Ranger reported missing is safe in Cordova

Posted: Monday, October 28, 2002

ANCHORAGE (AP) -- Wrangell St. Elias National Park and Preserve ranger John Murphy showed up safe Sunday morning in Cordova, canceling a Sunday rescue that was planned when his plane didn't land in Yakutat on Saturday.

''He wasn't really lost,'' said Kenneth Bellamy, with the Rescue Coordination Center in Anchorage. ''He claims to have disclosed his flight plan with flight service. Flight service had no record of it.''

Murphy, Yakutat district ranger for the park, left Anchorage at about 10:45 a.m. Saturday. He was alone, flying a single-engine Bellanca Scout. He was expected in Yakutat about five hours later and didn't show up.

The rescue center contacted airstrips in Whittier, Girdwood, Seward, Valdez and Cordova. No one reported seeing Murphy.

Murphy landed on Cordova's airstrip Saturday, a plan he reported to the Federal Aviation Administration's flight service station in Kenai, he told officials. Murphy learned Sunday morning that he was considered missing and called flight service officials in Juneau.

''I don't know how he knew we were searching,'' Bellamy said. ''Maybe he read the newspaper.''

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