Company to deploy ocean floor-scanning sonar in search for missing plane

Searchers are focusing on a more specific area of Frederick Sound in the search for a missing medical flight plane and crew. (KTUU)

ANCHORAGE (KTUU) - Guardian Flight has continued searching a specific area in Southeast Alaska waters for traces of its missing aircraft and crew members, missing since late January with a pilot, flight paramedic and flight nurse on board.

In an update on the company’s Facebook page Thursday, the company’s Vice President of Operations Randy Lyman said the company is searching the waters of Frederick Sound, which is generally north of Kake between its Kupreanof Island and Admiralty Island to the North, and the mainland to the East and Northeast.

The company has chartered the St. Jude support ship to continue its search, which has included using a towed sonar device to narrow the search radius by detecting signals from the Cockpit Voice Recorder.

That process narrowed their search area, and the searchers have been able to launch a submersible remotely operated vehicle, in an attempt to get the plane’s wreckage on camera, but that ROV has not revealed any further information.

Lyman said in the statement that the next step in the search is to use a side-scan towed sonar equipment that will trace details on the ocean floor.

“This process may take several days to complete but does not require underwater signals from the battery powered CVR to be effective,” Lyman wrote.

He wrote that the technology is very sensitive and is intended to detect even small objects on the ocean floor. He said it may be several days before it is ready to deploy, but that the company will continue to give updates as they continue to search for their missing friends.

"Let's continue to pray for our missing friends, their families and everyone who is affected by this tragedy," Lyman wrote in closing.

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