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Pilot found alive after searchers locate plane overdue since Wednesday

  • Author: Laurel Andrews
  • Updated: September 28, 2016
  • Published January 29, 2015

A small plane reported overdue in Southcentral Alaska was found Thursday and the pilot taken to a local hospital with no significant injuries.

"The aircraft was spotted about two hours ago by a good Samaritan aircraft -- I believe it was a buddy of his -- who was flying as part of the search," Alaska National Guard spokesperson Kalei Rupp said at 1:45 p.m.

The red and white Cessna 180 was spotted at Chakachamna Lake. The plane had gone through the ice and was found partially submerged, said Clint Johnson, the National Transportation Safety Board's Alaska chief.

An HH-60 Pave Hawk helicopter with a pararescuer on board retrieved the pilot. He was taken to Central Peninsula Hospital with "either no injuries or minor injuries," Johnson said.

Johnson did not know the condition of the plane.

The Alaska Rescue Coordination Center had been searching for the plane since Wednesday.

The plane left Soldotna at about 1:30 p.m., U.S. Coast Guard Petty Officer 2nd Class Grant Devuyst said. It was headed north of Cook Inlet to Chakachamna Lake with one person on board. It was reported overdue at 5 p.m., an hour after it was expected to return.

The 11th Air Force Rescue Coordination Center led a rescue effort after the plane was discovered to be missing. The Air National Guard on Wednesday night launched an HH-60 Pave Hawk that searched for three hours but didn't spot anything, Rupp said. A Coast Guard C-130 and six Alaska Civil Air Patrol aircraft joined the search Thursday morning.

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