11 September 2013

Mid-Week Update

Another One Missing Dept:  No signs of a plane last reported near the Southeast Alaska community of Yakutat Monday afternoon have been reported, despite searches since Tuesday by Alaska Air National Guard and Coast Guard aircraft.

Lt. Bernie Kale, a spokesperson with the 11th Air Force’s Rescue Coordination Center, says plans have been made to expand the search for the aircraft, reported by public radio station KTOO to be a Piper PA-32. The plane was being flown by its sole occupant, 47-year-old Eagle River man Alan Foster.

“The Civil Air Patrol is planning on having six aircraft in the search, but they are waiting for the weather to clear up,” Kale said. According to the Coast Guard, air traffic controllers in Anchorage lost contact with the aircraft, which was en route from Ketchikan to Merrill Field, at about 4 p.m. Monday roughly 42 miles northwest of Yakutat near the Malaspina Glacier.

High and Going Higher Dept: The number of people killed in plane crashes in Alaska has more than tripled this year from 2012, but the number of crashes has declined ... as of Tuesday, there have been 32 fatalities this year.

All Wet Dept: Channel 2 meteorologist David George says this year has been Anchorage’s second-wettest on record, with 16.55 inches of recorded precipitation versus a 1989 record of 18.36 inches. (And that's not counting whatever additional rain or snow from now through the end of the year - Ed.)

Details Emerging Dept:  Mike Whedbee and Jason Scott flew off in search of the 9-foot grizzly that had left pizza-sized tracks in Whedbee's private airstrip on West Lake. They never made it back.

The Zenith 701 experimental airplane Whedbee built with his wife, Grace, crashed in swampy tundra near Blanket Lake, about three miles north of Big Lake, Alaska State Troopers said.
Whedbee, 66, was killed. Scott remained hospitalized...

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