Coast Guard suspends search for overdue aircraft near Kake, Alaska

Coast Guard MH-60 Jayhawk Helicopter file photo

Coast Guard MH-60 Jayhawk Helicopter file photo

JUNEAU, Alaska — The Coast Guard suspended the search for an overdue aircraft with three people aboard near Kake, Alaska, 5:30 p.m. (local time) Thursday.

The Coast Guard conducted maritime and aerial searches for more than 63 hours concentrated in an area of 240 square nautical miles. Numerous other searches were conducted by partner agencies and volunteers.

The Coast Guard began searching after Coast Guard Sector Juneau command center watchstanders received notification from Sitka Flight Services at 6:40 p.m. Tuesday, that a Guardian medical life flight was expected to land in Kake, Alaska, but never arrived.

Coast Guard Cutters Anacapa and Bailey Barco, MH-60 Jayhawk helicopters from Coast Guard Air Station Sitka and Coast Guard Air Station Kodiak, along with partner agencies and volunteers, searched an area 20 miles west of Kake, Alaska, which was the last known position of the aircraft.

Aircraft debris was located in the search area, Wednesday, and appears to be from the Guardian flight. Despite the search efforts, no other debris was located Wednesday night or Thursday.

“Suspending a search for any reason is one of the most difficult decisions we have to make,” said Capt. Stephen White, Sector Juneau commander. “This was an extensive search effort in some very challenging conditions. We are thankful for the assistance from the search and rescue teams, Alaska State Troopers, Army Air National Guard and good Samaritans.”

Those assisting in the search were:

  • Army Air National Guard
  • Kake Search and Rescue
  • Petersburg Search and Rescue
  • Wrangell Search and Rescue
  • Alaska State Troopers
  • Alaska Marine Highways Ferries
  • Good Samaritans
  • Anchorage Air Route Traffic Control Center

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