Search to resume for missing forestry plane

Posted: February 7, 2014 at 7:05 a.m.
Updated: February 7, 2014 at 9:43 a.m.

The search resumes Friday for a missing Arkansas Forestry Commission pilot who disappeared with his aircraft a week ago.

Aggressive search efforts in the air and on land Thursday produced no leads in the search for missing Forestry Commission pilot Jake Harrell. Harrell disappeared Jan. 31 as he flew from Oden to Wickes searching for wildfires.

Six helicopters are set to fly over mountains Friday along Harrell's flight route, Forestry Commission spokesman Adriane Barnes said, adding that fixed-wing aircraft would join them if visibility improves later in the morning. Helicopters are checking and re-checking areas from different directions to ensure that all slopes and angles are covered.

"Ground crews are in briefings and will be equipped and sent out to explore routes within the hour," Barnes said about 9 a.m. "Calls continue to come in from local residents with possible information about plane sightings and sounds on Friday; credible leads are all being answered, filed, and documented on maps. No possibilities are being ruled out."

Barnes said crews are searching an area of an estimated 950,000 acres, or about 1,484 square miles, which includes north and south of Lake Ouachita; west to U.S. 71 and the Oklahoma state line; the Wickes area; Lake Greeson and the Daisy community.