UPDATE: Coast Guard, good Samaritans searching for missing small plane near Point Howard

Update, 9:00 p.m.

Wreckage of the missing plane was spotted about 3:00 p.m. by a Coastal Helicopters crew. A Juneau Mountain Rescue team later made it to the crash site and found the body of the pilot. Read the full story here.

Update, 2:06 p.m.

More searchers have now joined the effort to find a small plane that went missing between Juneau and Gustavus this morning (Thursday).

The plane was last heard from near Point Howard.

Alaska State Troopers and Juneau Mountain Rescue are coordinating a ground search, while the Civil Air Patrol has joined a U.S. Coast Guard MH-60 and a commercial helicopter from Coastal Helicopters in the aerial search.

Coast Guard Lieutenant Ryan Erickson with Sector Juneau Search and Rescue says the pilot was the only person on board the plane owned by Air Excursions. He says it was due into Gustavus at 8:55 a.m., and last made contact at 8:47 near Point Howard.

“We haven’t heard anything since,” Erickson says. “So, flight service station gave the Coast Guard a call, saying we might have a situation, and we’ve been searching since.”

Erickson says low clouds, fog and rain are complicating the search.

The plane is described as a teal and white Piper Cherokee.

A woman who answered the phone at Air Excursions said the company would have no comment and would not be releasing any information at this point.

This is an ongoing story, check back here for updates.

Original story, 12:06 p.m.

The Coast Guard and a commercial helicopter company are looking for a small plane that went missing between Juneau and Gustavus this morning.

Lieutenant Ryan Erickson with Sector Juneau Search and Rescue says the pilot was the only person on board the plane owned by Air Excursions. He says it was due into Gustavus at 8:55 a.m., and last made contact at 8:47 near Point Howard.

“We haven’t heard anything since,” Erickson says. “So, flight service station gave the Coast Guard a call, saying we might have a situation, and we’ve been searching since.”

Erickson says a Coast Guard MH-60 from Air Station Sitka and a chopper from Coastal Helicopters are involved in the search. Low clouds and fog are complicating aerial efforts, and a ground search is not yet underway.

The plane is described as a teal and white Piper Cherokee.

A woman who answered the phone at Air Excursions said the company would have no comment and would not be releasing any information at this point.

This is an ongoing story, check back here for updates.

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