Search for downed plane spans air, land and sea

Search for downed plane spans air, land and sea
Boats were everywhere, trying to spot any wreckage or any signs of survivors. (Photo source: WLOX)
Boats were everywhere, trying to spot any wreckage or any signs of survivors. (Photo source: WLOX)

JACKSON COUNTY, MS (WLOX) - Finding the missing plane took a monumental effort in the air, on land and at sea. Boats were everywhere, trying to spot any wreckage or any signs of survivors.

It was called a search and rescue mission, but there was a problem: Mother Nature was not cooperating.

"Obviously, the weather is hindering the search a little bit, but we're not going to discontinue operations at this time," said DMR Marine Patrol Chief Keith Davis. "We're going to continue monitoring the storm system as it moves in. As long as we don't have any lightning, we're going to continue to search."

Search they did with members of the Jackson County Sheriff's Flotilla aiding the effort. Coast Guard planes patrolled the skies, searching for any clues. The sense of urgency was very apparent, and nothing was left to chance.

"Well, with the sea conditions the way that they are, we have a lot of our larger vessels out right now. We're going to be conducting some sonar patterns in a little bit, and of course, all of this is being coordinated with the United States Coast Guard," said Davis. "It's a huge operation as it unfolds, but we want to make sure we leave no stone unturned until we locate these people.

Then, a break in the case. Plane wreckage was spotted on Belle Fontaine beach, and the DMR boat raced to the scene.

What appeared to be part of a fuselage washed up on the beach. More wreckage was found a bit further inland, but no sign of the missing men. Police comb the beachfront, and special equipment is used on the water.

"This is the area that we received information that the radar last had contact with the airplane. So, we're going to run some sonar on this particular area and see if we can see anything in the water," said Davis.

It's now a race against the clock, and more vessels join in. All involved are hoping for the best in an effort to bring closure to this case.

"We certainly would like to think that we'll be able to," said Davis.

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