Tuesday, Sep 7, 2010
The search for the missing floatplane with four people aboard – pilot Marco Aletto and park employees Mason McLeod and brothers Neal and Seth Spradlin – was significantly scaled back on Saturday. The floatplane disappeared on August 21st after taking off from Swikshak Bay. No sign has since been found of either the plane or the four men. “We have logged almost 60,000 flight miles over the past two weeks,” said Regional Director Sue Masica. “Despite an exhaustive effort on the part of the park, the incident management team, and others, we have found no leads. We are scaling back our efforts in part to reduce risk to those participating in this complex operation.” Said Superintendent Ralph Moore: “All of us here at Katmai National Park, and in the communities of Naknek and King Salmon, are devastated by this tragic incident. To lose such fine people hurts deeply. Our hearts go out to the families of Neal, Seth, and Mason and to our friends at Branch River Air.” The National Park Service is grateful for the invaluable support of volunteer aircraft, agency aircraft, and pilot time that assisted with the search. The multi-agency effort included the National Park Service, U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service, Alaska Air National Guard, Alaska State Troopers, the Alaska Fire Service, U.S. Coast Guard, the Civil Air Patrol, U.S. Department of the Interior Aviation Management Directorate, Federal Aviation Administration, and National Transportation Safety Board, as well as local air taxi operators and others. The National Park Service will continue limited searching with regular park patrols and other resources. All pilots flying over the park are encouraged to observe and report any leads as well.