Searchers say they have detected the “black box” flight recorder from the medevac plane that went missing with three Juneau residents aboard two weeks ago.
Guardian Flight, which operated the missing King Air 200 plane, made the announcement in a Tuesday press release.
“The underwater beacon ping from the cockpit voice recorder ‘black box’ has been detected,” Guardian Flight Senior Vice President of Operations Randy Lyman said in the release.
The search boat that detected the ping was hired by Guardian Flight’s insurance company, said Clint Johnson, Alaska chief for the National Transportation Safety Board. He said Brice Banning, an agency investigator, is aboard the boat to provide expertise in the search.
“They arrived on scene early this morning at first light, and they were able to detect the acoustical pinger,” Johnson said in an interview with the Empire. “It’s still very much an active search at this point. It’s great news for us; it’s very encouraging to be able to hear the pinger, because we didn’t know if we were going to be able to do that.”
Lyman said the company is now working on narrowing down the box’s location through triangulation and determining its depth in the water.
“We are hopeful that the Remotely Operated Underwater Vehicle (ROV) will assist in visually spotting the aircraft and be followed by successful recovery efforts,” the release states. “Again, our thoughts, prayers and deepest heartfelt feelings are extended to the families, friends and colleagues of our fellow crew members.”
The plane was en route to Kake from Anchorage on Tuesday night, Jan. 29, but never arrived to its destination. A huge search ensued, with the U.S. Coast Guard and other agencies looking for 63 hours before suspending their efforts Thursday night, Jan. 31.
Pilot Patrick Coyle, 63, Flight Nurse Stacie Morse, 30, and Flight Paramedic Margaret Langston, 43, were the three crew members on board. Morse was pregnant with a child she planned to name Delta Rae.
• Contact reporter Mollie Barnes at firstname.lastname@example.org or 523-2228.