Still no sign of plane missing since June 8Despite clear conditions Sunday, continued search efforts yielded no new evidence of what may have become of missing pilot Mike Bratlie and his Piper PA-31 Navajo plane.
By: News Tribune staff, Duluth News Tribune
Despite clear conditions Sunday, continued search efforts yielded no new evidence of what may have become of missing pilot Mike Bratlie and his Piper PA-31 Navajo plane. The search has focused on the Silver Bay area, where the Lakeville man was last detected by radar and cell phone signals Friday, June 8.
Sunday’s volunteer search involved eight Civil Air Patrol planes, as well as four ground teams, consisting of four to six people each.
“The weather was perfect, but the search has been a challenge because of heavily wooded terrain. Our ground teams have traversed some very rough ground,” said Lt. Col. Paul Hertel, a public information officer.
Volunteers from Minnesota, Iowa and Illinois all have joined in the effort, with 60 to 65 people actively involved in the search.
An ARCHER aircraft, specially equipped to search for signs of Bratlie’s white aircraft by identifying any objects that don’t fit the normal ground pattern of the area assisted Sunday, but Hertel said the technology may be of little use if the twin-engine airplane is submerged in water.
Sunday’s search will continue until sunset and will recommence this morning, barring a breakthrough discovery.
Bratlie, age 67, is a seasoned pilot who has flown for the U.S. Navy and for a commercial airline service.
Anyone who may have knowledge of Bratlie’s flight on the afternoon or evening of June 8 is asked to call 911.