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AFRCC & CAP help find missing pilot in California

  • Published
  • By Capt. Jared Scott
After receiving an alert notice of an overdue aircraft in California Monday night, the Air Force Rescue Coordination Center here stepped in to assist local authorities.

"The Piper P28A aircraft was scheduled to fly from San Jose to Lone Pine," said Staff Sgt. Theresa Carter-Daniel, a search and rescue duty officer with the AFRCC. "When a concerned family member realized they had not received a call from their loved one, they notified local authorities who initiated the Alert Notice received here."

Following receipt of the ALNOT at approximately 8 p.m. PDT, the AFRCC coordinated with National Headquarters Civil Air Patrol to assist with cell phone and radar forensics in order to narrow down the search area.

With a smaller area defined, the AFRCC contacted CAP's California Wing to assist with search efforts. Launching late Monday night, CAP aircraft picked up the P28A's 121.5 MHz Emergency Locator Transmitter signal in the southern Sierra Nevada Mountains. Due to poor visibility, CAP launched another aircraft Tuesday morning and located the downed aircraft and directed ground crews to the site. CAP conducted a total of three aerial searches for the missing pilot.

The Sequoia National Park Service launched a helicopter to the wreckage site to rescue the pilot and transported him to a nearby hospital. The individual had sustained multiple injuries as a result of the crash.

"The Civil Air Patrol plays a vital role in our search and rescue operations," said Carter-Daniel. "From unique capabilities such as cell and radar forensics to the quick response of launching fixed-wing aircraft to search for the wreckage site, CAP was invaluable in the rescue of this pilot."

The AFRCC, a unit under Air Forces Northern, operates 24 hours a day, seven days a week. As the United States' Inland Search and Rescue Coordinator, the AFRCC serves as the single agency responsible for coordinating on-land federal search and rescue activities in the continental United States, Mexico and Canada.

CAP performs approximately 85 percent of continental United States inland search missions as tasked by the AFRCC and is credited by the AFRCC with saving an average of 70 lives annually.

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