ANCHORAGE (KTUU) - Last week, a plane with three crew members on board went missing on the way to Kake, Alaska, after flying out of Anchorage for a medical transport mission. So far, those three, and the plane which they were on, have not been found.
Tuesday, officials with Guardian Flight, the company operating the aircraft, offered an update, both on the continuing search for its missing employees, as well as services resuming.
"We are dedicated to bringing them home," Randy Lyman, Guardian Flight’s senior vice president of operations, said via email. "Our whole team is grateful for the expressions of support and love that our team and the families of the missing crew have received from the Kake community and others across the state, and from all of the efforts to date in search of our missing companions."
Lyman said that Guardian Flight contracted Alaska Claims Service to perform a "towed-SONAR naval survey" of the area, aimed at finding the flight data recorder, also known as the black box, aboard the missing plane.
"We have engaged Temsco Helicopters, Inc. in Juneau to aerially search along the coastline as weather conditions permit," Lyman also said of the ongoing search contracting.
Debris that appears to be from the flight was located in the search area last week, but no additional debris was found after.
“Suspending a search for any reason is one of the most difficult decisions we have to make,” said Capt. Stephen White, Sector Juneau commander in the statement. “This was an extensive search effort in some very challenging conditions. We are thankful for the assistance from the search and rescue teams, Alaska State Troopers, Army Air National Guard and good Samaritans.”
"The debris found by searchers unfortunately gives us a very strong indication that it was our airplane," Lyman said in a statement. "While search and rescue efforts are continuing in an attempt to find survivors, we are resigned to accept that the aircraft was ours."
In addition to an update on the search, which will continue according to Lyman, services also continue this week.
"We have resumed service in Anchorage (1 out of 3 Teams), Deadhorse, Dillingham, Fairbanks, Ketchikan, and Sitka," Lyman wrote.
Lyman said that many of its crew want to get back to flying, but also acknowledged that other employees, who may not feel ready, are being given flexibility to make that call.