Search continues for missing plane, pilotby Matt Sepic, Minnesota Public Radio
ST. PAUL, Minn. — Civil Air Patrol crews are continuing to search the Arrowhead region of northeastern Minnesota for a twin-engine plane that went missing Friday.
The pilot, Michael Bratlie, 67, of Lakeville took off alone from the South St. Paul airport and had planned to fly his twin-engine Piper PA-31 Navajo to Duluth and back. Bratlie is a a retired Northwest Airlines pilot.
Civil Air Patrol Capt. George Supan said crews have not picked up the plane's radio distress beacon, but radar and cell phone signals helped establish a starting point for the search.
"We don't know the exact location he was at, but we take the tower that was receiving the signal from the cell phone, and we say OK, that's at a specific point, longitude and latitude," Supan said. "And we go from there in laying out our search pattern."
Supan says they're concentrating the search on land, though crews looked in Lake Superior over the weekend.
Search crews are flying over a wide area of the Arrowhead north of Silver Bay. Supan said they are listening for Bratlie's radio distress beacon while they look for his plane.
"Our aircraft have the radios in there tuned to that frequency, are constantly listening for that, but then doing the physical search looking down at the ground," Supan said.
He says anyone in the Arrowhead region who heard unusual aircraft sounds Friday afternoon or evening should contact authorities.