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Still No Sign of Missing Plane In Katmai National Park After Four Days of Searching


A search for a missing plane over Katmai National Park and Preserve has been realigned to follow a grid pattern, rather than one that followed topography and most likely routes the plane might have taken to King Salmon. NPS map.

As searchers continued to come up empty in their efforts to find a small plane with four occupants aboard that vanished on a flight from Katmai National Park and Preserve, officials Wednesday reoriented the searching to a more typical grid pattern.

While the first four days of the search had sent planes aloft with orders to follow all routes that the missing plane most likely would have followed from Swikshak Lagoon to King Salmon, Alaska, on Wednesday the decision was made to move to a grid pattern based on air miles rather than terrain, park officials said.

There has been no sign of, and no signal from, the maroon de Havilland Beaver with white stripes (tail number N9313Z) since it left Swikshak Lagoon early Saturday afternoon with the pilot and three National Park Service maintenance workers. The three -- Mason McLeod, 26, and brothers Neal and Seth Spradlin -- had been tearing down the old Swikshak patrol cabin to make way for a new cabin. Piloting the plane was Marco Alletto.

The NPS Alaska Incident Management Team, lead by Incident Commander Richard Moore, is assisting Katmai National Park by managing the search efforts for the missing aircraft.

During the first four days of searching, resources focused on all recognized low-elevation passes, both to north and south directions, park officials said in explaining the change in strategy. Operations now are moving to a broader saturation model, based on a grid defined by air miles, rather than terrain. This methodical path of using a grid system is based on the same method used by the Civil Air Patrol and will cover all areas regardless of geographical features, they added.

The U.S. Coast Guard continues to search the coast and the Civil Air Patrol is working on the northern search areas.

Eight dedicated incident aircraft, (three helicopters and five fixed wing) along with three volunteer aircraft and aircraft from the Alaska Air National Guard, US Coast Guard and the Civil Air Patrol will participate in the search, with additional aircraft arriving late today. The multi-agency effort includes the National Park Service, U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service, Alaska Air National Guard, Alaska State Troopers, U.S. Coast Guard, as well as local private operators.

Due to safety and communication concerns, pilots are asked to contact Katmai National Park, at 907-246-3305 to coordinate any search efforts.


Mason Mcleod is my cousin. We are all very worried and praying for all to return home safely. Thank you for the update as we are checking constantly for any news of what is happening there.

I am a NPS employee duty-stationed in Colorado. I lived and worked in King Salmon, AK in 1995, and know how large and vast Katmai NP is. My thoughts and prayers are with the families.

Mason is a friend of mine and I'm also grateful for the updates. Thank you to everyone involved with the search. We are praying for Mason and the others involved, their families and also the searchers. Stay strong guys. Much love.

Marco is a friend of my family...I am praying fo their heart, prayers go out to all......

I've known Mason since our FSU days and I am very grateful for this websites updated information. I just have to believe that he and the others will return to us with one incredible tale to tell. Keeping them all in my thoughts til their safe return.

All of our thoughts and prayers are with Mason, his family and co-workers. Here in Jacksonville we are watching and waiting. Mason is a survivor and there are many who love him.

Many thanks for keeping us updated. I've been praying for the four guys and search every day for news. I don't know them personally, but for a half hour I felt a particle of the heartache their loved ones must feel. My daughter and son-in-law are park rangers at Katmai, and the first report I heard stated no names. We've only heard from them twice in 4 months, phone and email are restricted. I was able to contact the park and the ranger on duty told me Sunday that my loved ones were not involved. My heart aches for the families of the missing. May the angels keep them safe.

My thoughts and prayers to those missing on the plane and to their families and friends. Praying for a safe return.

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