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Search For Three Suspended

The Coast Guard suspended its search for three people at 9:47 p.m.,Tuesday, after more than 12 hours of searching for survivors of a downed aircraft near Brookings.

John Belnap, the pilot, his son Max, 17, and a friend Ryan Merker, 17, remain missing after the reported plane crash of a 1964 Cessna 172F.

Coast Guard search efforts included aircrews aboard a C-27J Spartan fixed-wing aircraft, from Air Station Sacramento, California, multiple MH-65 Dolphin helicopters, from Air Station North Bend, and a boatcrew aboard a 47-foot Motor Lifeboat from Station Chetco River in Brookings. Coast Guard personnel conducted 7 searches covering more than 540 square miles. The Civil Air Patrol and the Curry County Sheriff’s Office also provided search assets and personnel.

Coast Guard search efforts began this morning at about 8 a.m., as an agency assist on behalf of the Air Force Regional Communication Center for inland search and rescue between the Grants Pass and Brookings airports.

Coast Guard Sector North Bend took over as search mission coordinator from the AFRCC late Tuesday morning after a backpack believed to belong to an occupant aboard the aircraft washed ashore near Lone Ranch Picnic Park, 4 miles north of the Brookings Airport.
Search conditions were ideal all day consisting of clear skies with approximately 10 miles of visibility and light winds.

The cause of the incident is unknown at this time and will be investigated.

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