Air Guard, Civil Air Patrol search for missing plane

Posted: Thursday, December 21, 2000

ANCHORAGE (AP) -- A search was underway Thursday for an overdue cargo plane with two people aboard, the Alaska Air National Guard said.

The guard's Rescue Coordination Center launched a helicopter search for the C-46, owned by Fairbanks-based Evert Air, after it failed to return on time, said Maj. Mike Haller, spokesman for the RCC.

The cargo plane was flying from Nondalton to Kenai after dropping off a load of fuel. It was due back at 6:30 p.m. Wednesday. The Federal Aviation Administration notified the RCC that the plane was overdue.

''There was no communication with the pilot or co-pilot, and no beacon from an emergency locator transmitter,'' Haller said.

He said the last radar reading from the plane placed it southwest of Anchorage, across Cook Inlet, near Lake Clark Pass.

The Air National Guard sent an HC-130 Hercules aircraft to search the area Wednesday night. It returned when weather conditions prevented the crew from seeing anything, said Staff Sgt. Jeff Wells with the Air National Guard.

An HH-60G Pavehawk helicopter was launched Thursday at 7:30 a.m. A Civil Air Patrol plane also joined the search.

Wells said even in good weather Lake Clark Pass is a difficult area for pilots. It was particularly bad Wednesday night because of rain and ice, he said.

''It is rough and fairly mountainous and the weather usually is very fickle there,'' he said.

Search conditions had not improved much Thursday morning and crews were still having difficulty seeing through the clouds, Wells said.

NTSB records indicate only three incidents in Alaska with C-46 aircraft.

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