Search continues for missing medevac plane near Kake

(Photo from corporate.guardianflight.com)

Update: 11:13 p.m. — Ryan Cunningham, KTOO

Guardian Flight has released the names of the three personnel aboard the medevac plane that went missing Tuesday night: pilot Patrick Coyle, 63; flight nurse Stacie Rae Morse, 30; and flight paramedic Margaret Langston Allen, 43. Guardian says all three are based in Juneau.

“We continue to ask for prayers and support as we focus on these crew members and their families during this very difficult time,” said Guardian Senior Vice President of Operations Randy Lyman.

Late Wednesday evening, the Coast Guard said they were still searching for the plane in the waters near Kake. Debris from an aircraft had been spotted earlier in the day, but the Coast Guard was unable to confirm if the debris belonged to the missing plane.

The Coast Guard says a number of local agencies have assisted in the search, including Petersburg Search and Rescue, Alaska State Troopers, Kake Search and Rescue, Wrangell Search and Rescue, Alaska Marine Highway ferries and good Samaritans in the area.

Update: 5:42 p.m.

Debris from a plane has been located in the water, as the U.S. Coast Guard and others continue to search for the Beechcraft King Air 200 that went missing Tuesday night between Anchorage and Kake.

Chief Charly Hengen is a public affairs specialist with the Coast Guard

“The Coast Guard and partner agencies and volunteers, they’re still continuing the search for that overdue aircraft near Kake. We did receive reports that debris from a plane was located in the water approximately 22 miles west of Kake,” Hengen said. “It’s located about the South tip of Admiralty Island in Chatham Straight. However the Coast Guard cannot confirm that the debris is from that aircraft.”

The search focused on an area of water west of Kake, that wsa the plane’s last known position. Hengen said the debris was found near that area.

Original post

The U.S. Coast Guard and others are searching for a medevac aircraft that went missing Tuesday night on a flight from Anchorage to Kake.

Three people, a pilot, nurse and a paramedic, are on board the twin-engine Beechcraft King Air 200 plane owned by Guardian Flight. The plane was due to arrive in Kake at 6:19 p.m. Tuesday but did not.

Guardian Flight senior vice president of operations Randy Lyman said, “Our thoughts and prayers go out to our fellow employees and their families during this very trying time.” The company declined to release the names of the crew members.

Guardian Flight is standing down with its planes in Alaska until they have more information about the missing plane. In the interim, the company is working to find alternate transportation providers to patients. Guardian Flight says it is cooperating with the National Transportation Safety Board and the Federal Aviation Administration in their investigations.

The search is focusing on the last known position of the aircraft, an area of water 30 nautical miles by 20 nautical miles west of Kake.

“So at this time we are still, along with our partner agencies, continuing to search,” said petty officer Lauren Dean, public affairs specialist with the Coast Guard. “We just want to really reiterate that we have several Coast Guard assets diligently searching along with the invaluable assistance of the other rescue and volunteers and we greatly appreciate their help.”

The Coast Guard says the electronic locating transmitter is not broadcasting for the plane.

The Petersburg-based Coast Guard cutter Anacapa and good Samaritan vessels started the search Tuesday night. On Wednesday, a Jayhawk helicopter crew from Air Station Sitka and a National Guard H-60 helicopter from Juneau joined in. The Ketchikan-based Coast Guard cutter Bailey Barco was also headed to the scene. Also assisting are search and rescue teams from Kake and Petersburg, Alaska Marine Highway ferries and Alaska State Troopers.

Guardian Flight and other companies offer round-the-clock, emergency medical airlift service throughout Alaska for patients needing treatment at hospitals in larger cities. The company is headquartered in Anchorage.

Kake is an island community of about 600 people in the Southeast part of the state.

Weather on scene is mixed rain and snow, with winds 7 miles and hour and 1-3 foot seas.

This story contained contributions from Katherine Rose at KCAW in Sitka and Angela Denning at KFSK in Petersburg.