April 19, 2014

Update: Searchers Look For Missing Plane North of Duluth

By KBJR News 1

June 10, 2012 Updated Jun 11, 2012 at 9:57 PM CDT

Duluth, MN (Northland's NewsCenter) -- Crews have expanded their search for a missing pilot North of Duluth.

Searchers are looking for a single engine plane that left St. Paul Friday night, headed to Duluth, but never make it.

Rescue efforts came to an abrupt stop Sunday due to severe weather. Rescue planes were temporarily grounded again Monday due to high winds.

Seven planes and about 40 people are actively searching for 67–year old pilot Michael Arthur Bratlie of Lakeville, Minnesota and his twin engine piper.

Bratlie flew his plane from the Twin Cities up to Duluth Friday and was expected to return to Saint Paul the same day, but didn't come back.

Authorities say the Lakeville man recently put a new engine in his twin engine plane and decided to fly north to put some hours on the engine before making longer trips.

When he didn't come home, his family grew concerned and called the Federal Aviation Administration.

Authorities first surveyed parts of the Northland from air, looking to pick up the plane's emergency locater signal, but didn't find one.

Since then crews on the ground and in the air have been looking for signs of the plane.

Rescue workers are hopeful they'll find something, but say at this point it can be a difficult task.

"But still as you get up into the air, and depending what happened to the aircraft, it can be very difficult, because let's say the worst case, it crashed, there could be pieces and parts spread over several thousands of feet." said Capt. George Supan.

Civil Air Patrol officials are asking anyone in the Northland who might have seen or heard anything on Friday to contact their local sheriff's department.

The Coast Guard was commissioned to search parts of Lake Superior, but didn't find anything.

The plane is described as a white twin engine Piper PA31 Navaho with red and blue striping.

The search is ongoing.


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