[Editor’s Note: Civil Air Patrol has an interesting way of wording their stories so as to appear to be receiving credit even when their contributions amount to merely burning aviation fuel over an area better searched by drones and ground crews.]
Officials: Search to Continue Thursday for Missing Plane in Wallace/Wetzel Area
According to the Federal Aviation Administration, a Cirrus SR20 flown by Bill Searcy departed Delaware Coastal Airport in Georgetown, Delaware on Tuesday. Its destination was Fleming-Mason Airport in Flemingsburg, Kentucky. His wife Pat Searcy and their dog were aboard. Connie Thomaschek, assistant chief of Harrison County, W.Va. 911, previously said a couple from Southern Illinois and a dog were believed to be aboard the aircraft.
Radar contact with the aircraft was lost approximately 23 miles northwest of Clarksburg, West Virginia. Volunteer fire departments and Harrison County 911 set up a command post at the Wallace Volunteer Fire Department.
Harrison County Sheriff Robert Matheny said his office was notified of the missing aircraft at 9:30 a.m. Wednesday. Ground searches were conducted throughout the day Wednesday, while at least one drone and a helicopter from the West Virginia State Police were used.
Civil Air Patrol personnel arrived on the scene with an aircraft to search for the missing plane throughout Wednesday evening.
“We pinpointed some areas, different coordinates that they were going to fly over,” Matheny said.
One drone and a helicopter from the West Virginia State Police were also put into the air.
No sign of the plane was detected by dark on Wednesday night, so the search was suspended. Officials coordinated with the West Virginia Department of Homeland Security’s Office of Emergency Management to determine the next step.
Ground crews finally found wreckage of an airplane in a gully in a hilly area of Wetzel County Thursday afternoon, according to Emergency Services officials and personnel in a command center at the top of Fallen Timber Road.
As of late Thursday, Wetzel County Sheriff Mike Koontz said his department was securing the scene near Jacksonburg where the Cirrus SR20 aircraft [N135CD] crashed.
Due to the various terrain patterns, fire and rescue crews used drones to get a closer and deeper look at the area.
“We can get a little lower than the helicopters and the aircrafts,” said Dan Moore from the Wallace Fire Department. “It also records and we can put it on the big screen and can look a little closer, more in-depth.”
“A total of 48 members of the WV Wing Civil Air Patrol supported the search effort to find the overdue aircraft which was located today in Wetzel County. Three search aircraft performed aerial searches and four ground teams also participated. As volunteers who provide professional service when called upon, our members always stand ready to perform search and rescue activities when needed,” said Col Paul McCroskey, Wing Commander, Civil Air Patrol West Virginia Wing.
• CAP Amateurs Eager to Take Credit
• CAP Radar Team Steals Credit For Rescue Mission
• Civil Air Patrol Confirms No Survivors in Wetzel Co. Plane Crash
• Civil Air Patrol: Missing Plane Found; No Survivors
• FAA Confirms Missing Plane Found in Wetzel County
• Missing Plane Found with No Survivors
• Officials: Missing Plane Found in Mountainous Area Near Jacksonburg