Coast Guard searches for missing medevac plane near Kake

The Coast Guard Cutter Anacapa

The Coast Guard Cutter Anacapa (WPB 1335), a 110-foot Island-class patrol boat, near Petersburg, Alaska, Jan. 29, 2019. (Public domain photo by Amber Easterbrook/U.S. Coast Guard)

Update (Thursday, 4:19 p.m.) Jacob Resneck, CoastAlaska

The Coast Guard says it continues to search for an air ambulance that vanished near Kake. A piece of metal suspected to be part of the plane has been recovered. (Read more.)

Update (11:13 p.m.) — Ryan Cunningham, KTOO

Guardian Flight has released the names of the three personnel aboard the medevac plane that went missing Tuesday night: pilot Patrick Coyle, 63; flight nurse Stacie Rae Morse, 30; and flight paramedic Margaret Langston Allen, 43. Guardian says all three are based in Juneau.

“We continue to ask for prayers and support as we focus on these crew members and their families during this very difficult time,” said Guardian Senior Vice President of Operations Randy Lyman.

Late Wednesday evening, the Coast Guard said they were still searching for the plane in the waters near Kake. Debris from an aircraft had been spotted earlier in the day, but the Coast Guard was unable to confirm if the debris belonged to the missing plane.

The Coast Guard says a number of local agencies have assisted in the search, including Petersburg Search and Rescue, Alaska State Troopers, Kake Search and Rescue, Wrangell Search and Rescue, Alaska Marine Highway ferries and good Samaritans in the area.

Update (5:04 p.m.) — Katherine Rose, KCAW-Sitka

The U.S. Coast Guard says debris from a plane has been found in the water near Kake. Coast Guard officials have not yet confirmed that the debris came from the missing medevac plane.

The Coast Guard has been focusing their search on the last known position of the aircraft, an area of water 30 nautical miles by 20 nautical miles west of Kake.

Chief Charly Hengen, public affairs specialist with the Coast Guard, said the debris was found near that area.

“The Coast Guard and partner agencies and volunteers, they’re still continuing the search for that overdue aircraft near Kake,” Hengen said. “We did receive reports that debris from a plane was located in the water approximately 22 miles west of Kake. It’s located about the south tip of Admiralty Island in Chatham Straight. However, the Coast Guard cannot confirm that the debris is from that aircraft.”

Original story

As of late Wednesday afternoon, the U.S. Coast Guard and others were still searching for a medevac aircraft that went missing Tuesday night on a flight from Anchorage to Kake.

A pilot, nurse and paramedic were on board the twin-engine King Air 200 plane owned by Guardian Flight. The plane was due in Kake at 6:19 p.m. Tuesday evening, but it never arrived.

Guardian senior vice president of operations Randy Lyman said, “Our thoughts and prayers go out to our fellow employees and their families during this very trying time.”

The company is standing down with its planes in Alaska until they have more information about the missing plane. Guardian says it is cooperating with the National Transportation Safety Board and the Federal Aviation Administration in their investigations.

The Coast Guard says the electronic locating transmitter is not broadcasting for the plane. The search is focusing on the last known position of the aircraft.

Tuesday night the Petersburg-based Coast Guard cutter Anacapa, along with several good Samaritan vessels, were searching an area 20 miles west of Kake.

The Coast Guard says the cutter Bailey T. Barco relieved the Anacapa Wednesday morning, and a National Guard H-60 helicopter from Juneau was also joining in the search.

This story will be updated as new information becomes available.

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