Coast Guard suspends search for missing pilots from downed aircraft near Sand Point

KODIAK, Alaska – The Coast Guard suspended its search at 5:42 p.m. Friday for Ameer Ali, the pilot, and Emily Lewis, the co-pilot, missing following the crash of their Ace Air Beechcraft 1900C cargo aircraft shortly after take off from the Sand Point airport early Friday morning.

Coast Guard Air Station Kodiak rescue crews conducted five searches using an HC-130 Hercules aircraft and an MH-60 Jayhawk helicopter covering approximately 358 nautical miles in 14 hours.

The Coast Guard District 17 command center watchstanders received a call from the Sand Point police reporting a downed aircraft at approximately 12:20 a.m. After issuing an urgent marine information broadcast the Coast Guard D17 command center directed the launch of an HC-130 aircraft crew and an MH-60 helicopter crew from Air Station Kodiak.

Sand Point Fire Department rescue responders reported finding debris in the water off the end of the runway. Later the responders reported the debris field was about three miles wide and moving south of Egg Island.

Ali and Lewis were headed to Anchorage with a load of fish and mail. Their next of kin have been notified.

Representatives from the National Transportation Safety Board are conducting an investigation into the cause of the crash.

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