Coast Guard Searching for Trans-Pacific Balloonist

JUNEAU, Alaska – The Coast Guard has responded to a request for help in looking for an air balloon late this afternoon.

The Coast Guard has launched two C-130 aircrafts from Air Station Kodiak to search for the air balloon in an area of its last known position 435 miles south of Adak.

Michio Kanda, the air balloon’s pilot, departed on a solo flight yesterday across the Pacific Ocean from Japan to Oregon. He had been keeping a two-hour communication schedule via satellite phone with Sabu Ichiyoshi, Mr. Kanda’s colleague in Japan, who contacted Derek Hancock in Oregon who then alerted the Coast Guard.

Mr. Kanda has missed his last three communication check-ins.

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