August 24, 2010
Katmai National Park, Alaska - The search continues for a
missing Alaska floatplane carrying the pilot and three National
Park Service (NPS) maintenance employees. Search crews enter their
fourth day of searching the 4 million acre park with no clues
about the whereabouts of the missing craft or the fate of the
single engine deHavilland Beaver, operated by Branch River Air
Service in King Salmon, has been missing since Saturday afternoon.
The plane was piloted by Marco Alletto, 47, of King Salmon, and
was carrying park employees Mason McLeod, 26, and brothers, Neal
Spradlin, 28; and Seth Spradlin, 20.
The search began late Saturday afternoon when the Beaver, piloted
by Alletto, failed to return to King Salmon as expected.
Two planes owned by Branch River Air Service in King Salmon flew
to Swikshak Lagoon on Saturday to pick up an NPS maintenance crew.
The maintenance workers had spent more than a week at Swikshak
preparing for the reconstruction of an old ranger station.
Swikshak is on the Alaska Peninsula across Shelikof Strait from
The three NPS employees were picked up by the Beaver at 1:45 p.m.,
and a second plane carrying two employees left Swikshak 15 minutes
later. The second plane returned safely but had to fly much of the
way 500 feet above ground level due to deteriorating weather
An emergency response was initiated through the Rescue
Coordination Center on Saturday afternoon. A C-130 from Anchorage
and a Coast Guard helicopter searched the area until 11 p.m.
Saturday, but found nothing.
The aircraft involved in the search are equipped with GPS tracking
devices which allow the search managers to plot areas that were
intensely searched on Saturday and Sunday, along with areas that
need a closer examination today.
There have been no radio or emergency locator transmitter