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Search is on for Gustavus-bound plane

Posted: August 2, 2012 - 12:12pm  |  Updated: August 2, 2012 - 12:55pm

JUNEAU — The U.S. Coast Guard and a Juneau-based aircraft from Coastal Helicopters are searching for a missing Piper Cherokee last heard from this morning near Point Howard.

The Air Excursions,LLC flight originated in Juneau with just the pilot aboard and was reported 22 minutes overdue at 9:17 a.m. The aircraft is white and teal in color.

A Coast Guard MH-60 Jayhawk helicopter from Air Station Sitka and the private helicopter are on scene searching for the small plane.

The Coast Guard has also issued an urgent marine information broadcast requesting all mariners in the area keep an eye for the aircraft and report any sightings to the Coast Guard.

“Small plane traffic is very common in Alaska and we take any report of lost communications with an aircraft very seriously,” said Petty Officer 1st Class Adam Burleson, a Sector Juneau search and rescue controller. “We have launched a helicopter to investigate and welcome the assistance from Coastal Helicopters, who are also searching.”

Coast Guard Lt. Ryan Erickson of the Juneau Sector said Juneau Mountain Rescue has been asked to help. Clouds are down to 300 feet in the area hampering visibility.

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