by Sue Deyoe ~ November 18th, 2010
Search and rescue aircraft have discovered the apparent wreckage of an Air Force f-22 Raptor assigned to Elmendorf and Richardson Air Force bases southeast of Cantwell.
The craft lost contact with air traffic control Tuesday evening. A search was initiated that continued throughout the night. Wreckage was found Wednesday that fits the data and description of where Air National Guard officials thought the crash occurred.
The search area was initially the size of Connecticut, between Talkeetna and Cantwell. The aircraft apparently did not go down inside the boundaries of Denali National Park and park officials at Talkeetna Ranger Station are not involved with the search efforts.
The search for the missing pilot is continuing today.
The pilot has cold weather gear and is trained to survive in sub arctic and Arctic conditions.
The pilot’s name is being withheld until the pilot’s status is determined. There is still hope that the pilot is alive as the wreckage area is searched.
Residents near Cantwell report that the Denali Highway is being plowed to the gravel by the military. Recreationists using the highway have been turned around and plows are busy on that road. Mushers and skiers should be aware of the possibility that they will not be able to use that area. The owners of MacClaren Lodge at milepost 42 of the Denali highway say the military is plowing the road only to the Susitna River and that snow conditions are good for recreational travel beyond that point. The Air National Guard has NOT confirmed that the Denali Highway is actually closed to traffic.