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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.


Our friend Marco Alletto had a very colorful life, filled with many unique experiences that took him around the world. I first met Marco in Hawaii, but also had the pleasure to surf with him in Indonesia. We flew together, surfed together, and enjoyed some great times together. Through his travels and experiences, he made many friends along the way... the list is long and impressive. To honor him, I’ve created a special site so that everyone can post their photos and thoughts about him. Please take some time to say a few words and/or share your photos of Marco. He would want us to raise a glass, toast to happier times, and fill the room with laughter.

Here is the link to the site:

Thanks a lot to have answered to me. The last informations i gotabout Spradlins and Marco were from alaskasearchupdate; but today this web site has been hacked by somebody speaking arabic. I do not know what happened. Finally i met Paolo the brother of Marco who received yesterday a generic information that wrekages of the plane have been individuated somewhere; no other information. I do not know to whom ask now without the hacked website. Thanks and God makes them rescued alive.

Mr. Bugno

I am a friend of the Spradilins. Wanted to see if you had been able to obtain current information on a daily basis. If you need assistance I can feed you information as it becomes available. Let me know if you need help.

i read various articles about Marco Alletto.

I am the italian Oncle of Marco, the brother of his mother Hannelore Hirsch. I cannot reach his brother Paolo Alletto and I am worrying about Marco. Since I do not have at this moment other sources of information I am kindly requesting to you to give me, if possible, suggestions about improving my knowledge on news about MARCO. I will be really gratefull if you can help me in this occasion.

Thanks for informing us.
May God save them all

My best regards,

Federico Bugno

Mobile: +39 347 8793617

me and family in Bali - Indonesia , knew Marco the pilots few years ago when my sisters was with him , he is a nice guy , we all like him , we pray for him and all the rangers who still missing , we surrender in God's hands. Amen

my brother in law and I took 4 of our kids on the trip of a life time two summers ago. We stopped at Brooks Lodge where we met Mason. He made a huge impression on our family sharing knowledge and experiences about brown bears and the wilderness that will last a life time. When Katmai came up in the news, my attention quickly turned. When I saw Mason's name, I felt a real connection to the story. My kids and I are wishing and praying for Mason and his buddies for their quick and safe return from what I am sure will turn out to be a grand adventure.

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

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.

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