Thursday, June 19, 2003

Small plane missing since weekend eludes searchers

The Associated Press

MURRAY - A team of searchers looking for a small aircraft missing since the weekend still hasn't located the plane.

Earl Witte, 62, and Clem Anderson, 70, both of Paducah, took off at noon Saturday and have not been heard from since their departure from Short Creek Field in Dover, Tenn.

They were on their way to West Kentucky Airpark near Paducah.

Low-lying clouds delayed air searches in the Murray area Tuesday morning, although flights continued between Murray and Paducah.

Air and ground searches covered the plane's 50-mile projected route on Wednesday, according to Lt. Michael Brown, a spokesman for the Civil Air Patrol based in Louisville.

"We are going over areas that we have already searched," Brown said Wednesday.

"It's a greater probability that we'll find something the second time."

Pilots have combined for 44 flights totaling 111 hours searching for the plane.

Officials have said that if the plane went down in a heavily wooded area, it could have penetrated the tree canopy, leaving no sign by air and making it difficult to spot on the ground.

U.S. Coast Guard officials have also assisted in the search. Two miles of the plane's projected route was over Kentucky Lake.

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