Coast Guard suspends search for missing plane

Posted: Sunday, December 31, 2000

JUNEAU (AP) -- The Coast Guard is suspending its search for a plane missing since Wednesday with two Juneau men on board.

Steve Zeckser, 51, and Edgar Burch, 63, were reported overdue by the Juneau Flight Service Station on Wednesday afternoon.

Zeckser is the owner of the red Bellanca Scout. He was receiving his biennial flight review from Burch, a certified flight instructor.

The two were scheduled to fly to Young Bay on Admiralty Island, just west of Douglas Island, a flight that normally would take only about 20 minutes.

Coast Guard searchers were joined by the Civil Air Patrol, Alaska State Troopers, Army National Guard, the U.S. Forest Service, the Coast Guard Auxiliary, Juneau Mountain Rescue and friends of the missing men. The Coast Guard said more than 150 hours were spent searching for the men.

Searchers found two tires Friday that an airplane mechanic said belonged to the single-engine plane. The tires were found about a mile apart floating between Douglas and Admiralty islands.

Searchers also found material that could have come from an airplane wing.

Zeckser was a 21-year employee of the U.S. Forest Service.

Burch served three tours of duty in Vietnam and is a retired sheriff from Colorado who moved to Juneau about 18 months ago.

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