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Searchers believe they’ve found part of air ambulance submerged in Southeast Alaska waters

JUNEAU — Searchers believe they have found part of the air ambulance that went missing with three people on board in Southeast Alaska waters, the aircraft owners said.

A Guardian Flight Beechcraft King Air B200, similar to the one pictured, crashed Jan. 29, 2019, in water near Kake in Southeast Alaska. (Courtesy Guardian Flight)

Guardian Flight announced that searchers using sonar technology found an object that is about the size of the aircraft about 600 feet underwater in Frederick Sound, the Juneau Empire reported Monday.

The beacon signal from the missing plane’s cockpit voice recorder was detected last month. The object recently located is within a mile of the underwater beacon, the owners said.

The King Air 200 disappeared Jan. 29 while on the way from Anchorage to pick up a patient in the town of Kake.

"Our search team, utilizing side-scanning sonar technology, has located what might possibly turn out to be an unknown part of our missing aircraft in the extended search area," said Randy Lyman, Guardian Flight's senior vice president of operations.

The object is possibly 25 feet long and up to 8 feet wide, Lyman said.

The next step is to launch a remotely operated submersible, Lyman said.

Pilot Patrick Coyle, 63, flight nurse Stacie Rae Morse, 30, and flight paramedic Margaret Langston, 43, were on board the aircraft. The three were Guardian Flight employees based in Juneau.

“We are hopeful that this might be a positive step in the process to recover our missing friends and return them to their families,” Lyman said.