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Search to resume for missing plane, pilot

By Staff and wire reports

This article was originally published February 6, 2014 at 7:06 a.m. Updated February 6, 2014 at 10:39 a.m.

The search for a missing Arkansas Forestry Commission pilot and his airplane is resumed Thursday in western Arkansas after another plane's wreckage found on Rattlesnake Mountain turned out to be from a crash many years ago.

Commission spokesman Adriane Barnes said Wednesday that the wreckage of a plane that crashed decades ago in Polk County was found — but that the plane had been previously found and its crash recorded. No remains were found with it.

Barnes said searchers would gather about 7 a.m. Thursday for instructions and resume searching for pilot Jake Harrell and his aircraft along his flight path from Oden to Wickes.

Barnes said that "we're at 'dang it'" about the unsuccessful efforts to find Harrell since he disappeared Friday while flying in search of wildfires.

"Hopes are high; searchers remain dedicated," Barnes said Thursday.

About 700 square miles were flown Wednesday by 15 aircraft that searched areas in five miles in all directions of Harrell's apparent flight route; more than 200 people continue to search.

"Conditions on routes throughout the Ouachita region continue to be treacherous; each searcher is equipped with a hard hat, compass, extreme cold weather gear, and detailed maps," Barnes said, adding that the search is closed to volunteers.

Statewide Arkansas Forestry Commission crews; the U.S. Forest Service; Polk, Scott, and Montgomery county law enforcement; the Arkansas Game and Fish Commission; the Arkansas National Guard, the Civil Air Patrol; the Arkansas State Police; the Arkansas Department of Emergency Management; local volunteer fire departments; the Red Cross; and the National Weather Service are all aiding the search.

Information for this article was contributed by The Associated Press and by Katie Doherty of Arkansas Online.

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