by Sue Deyoe ~ September 29th, 2010
Debris from a float plane missing for more than a month has been found washed up on a beach in Katmai National Park and Preserve.
Katmai National Park officials were notified Tuesday night by local helicopter pilot, Sam Egli, who had spotted parts of the aircraft, on a narrow stretch of beach between Cape Douglas and the Douglas River.
On August 21st, the float plane had taken off from Swikshak Lagoon which is about 30 miles to the south of where the debris was located. The Beaver floatplane was carrying 3 National Park service employees, 26 year old Mason McLeod and brothers 28 year old Neal Spradlin and 20 year old Seth Spradlin as well as the pilot 47 year old Marco Alletto from King Salmon.
The discovery of the debris brings with it some closure after searchers have been scouring the land and coast in and around Katmai National Park by air and by land for more than a month. National Park Service, Coast Guard and civilian pilots flew more than a dozen aircraft over 60 thousand miles over the 4 million acre national park while searching for the missing plane. Three Talkeetna park service personnel, Missy Smothers, Coley Gentzel and Matt Hendrickson as well as the Denali rescue helicopter, its pilot and mechanic, were all part of the dozens of people involved in the search. Missy Smothers said that it brings some relief to the long search and they were betting that once the fall leaves blew away that searchers would be able to see something that hadn’t been seen earlier. She said a lot of time was spent walking the beaches.
It is believed that high tides and strong east winds on Monday and Tuesday were responsible for washing the debris up on shore and making it more visible.
The National Transportation Safety Board will be investigating the crash.