Clearing skies briefly renewed searchers’ hopes as they returned to the Rainy Pass area Tuesday, seeking a plane and pilot Aircraft still missing near Rainy Pass overnight

An HC-130 search plane and a UH-60 Black Hawk were being sent Tuesday to Rainy and Simpson passes according to David Bedard, a spokesman for the Alaska Air National Guard’s 176th Wing. They were being joined by four Civil Air Patrol aircraft from Anchorage and Fairbanks.

Although Bedard initially said conditions looked "pretty favorable," by Tuesday afternoon crews were searching only peripheral areas of Rainy Pass.

"The weather's still a bit of a disappointment," Bedard said. "The primary search zone, they're still struggling to get in there."

The red-and-white Cessna 172 sought by searchers, carrying a single occupant from Farewell to Wasilla, took off Wednesday afternoon and was lost on radar. Several agencies have provided aircraft for the search, but poor weather including low cloud ceilings largely kept search planes out of the area over the weekend.

Joint Base Elmendorf-Richardson’s Rescue Coordination Center didn’t initially receive an emergency locator transmitter signal from the missing plane. Bedard said Tuesday that the center wasn’t aware of any ELT signals being picked up since.

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