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Air Support Playing Crucial Part in Search for Missing Pilot

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Pictured is Colonel Doug Alexander with the Civil Air Patrol (photo courtesy of the Arkansas Forestry Commission).

700 square miles were flown Wednesday (Feb. 5) by 15 different aircraft in the airspace over the location missing Arkansas Forestry Commission pilot, Jake Harrell, who last checked in with AFC Central Dispatch in Malvern on Jan. 31.

More than 200 people continue to be involved amid ground crews, aerial crews, Incident Command officials, and others.

“Eight planes from the Civil Air Patrol, four Arkansas Forestry Commission detection planes, and three helicopters from the National Guard and State Police explored areas five miles in all directions of Harrell’s supposed flight route between Oden and Wickes,” a recent news release stated.

Both helicopters and planes have people that act as spotters inside to help survey the ground, and aircraft explore new areas each day, also re-exploring previously flown space to double-check locations where snow and ice could hide the missing plane.

Ground crews continue to search areas connected to Harrell’s last cell phone frequency and work from tips provided by local residents with possible details concerning hearing or spotting Jake’s plane before it vanished.

Conditions on search routes throughout the Ouachita region continue to be dangerous, and every searcher has a hard hat, compass, extreme cold-weather gear, and detailed maps.

Currently, the search is still closed to volunteers, due to the need for a tight accountability system and specialized equipment.


  • LC

    I believe it is fantastic the job that is being done there in order to find Jake. Amazing the amount of resources that have been gathered to help in the search! Great leadeship!
    Every minute counts! He has still not been found, and it will be one week tomorrow. We have a group that is ready to search for this plane using images taken from videos. We need videos to be taken from the airplane, helicopters, whatever is flying over the potential areas. We know that there are rules, but, please, consider this to be an “exception to the rule”. Together we can help find Jake faster.

    I pray he is found today!!! Bless you all.

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