Search enters 3rd day for overdue plane south of Fairbanks
Rescuers with the Air National Guard are searching for an overdue aircraft with two people on board that was headed to McCarthy Monday morning.
A total of 15 aircraft, five from the Civil Air Patrol and 10 civilian planes, were continuing the search Wednesday morning, according to Lt. Col. Candis Olmstead with the state Department of Military and Veterans Affairs.
"The search is ongoing, there have not been any sightings, and no [emergency locator transmitter] signals," Olmstead wrote.
Olmstead said Wednesday that Guard officials weren't aware of any attempts by the people on the plane to contact anyone since they became overdue.
The two on board, Olmstead said, were a pilot and his wife who departed from Salcha. They were headed to their homestead near Ultima Thule Lodge west of McCarthy.
Olmstead says the couple departed Salcha between 11 a.m. and noon on Monday and were expected to arrive sometime late that afternoon.
A concerned family member called the Alaska Rescue Coordination Center to report the overdue plane, according to a release issued by Joint Base Elmendorf-Richardson. RCC took immediate action by coordinating with state and local agencies, around 10:40 a.m. Tuesday.
Airmen with the Air National Guard's 211th and 212th Rescue Squadrons were dispatched to search for the pilot's reported route, south of Fairbanks on Monday evening, but had no luck finding the plane.
"Four aircraft from the Civil Air Patrol, two U.S. Marine Corps aircraft and aircraft from the National Park Service as well as Good Samaritan volunteer pilots all assisted with the search today and [Monday] evening," the release said.
Crews are planning to search different routes on and go through valleys that have not been searched yet, Olmstead said. On Wednesday, she remained optimistic about the possibility of finding the missing couple alive.
"Alaska is absolutely huge," Olmstead said. "There's lots of good-news stories about people who have been missing for days."
Chris Klint contributed information to this story.
Editor's Note: The Alaska National Guard clarified late Tuesday afternoon that the couple was en route to their homestead, which is near Ultima Thule Lodge, rather than en route to the lodge itself.
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