The disappearance of pilot Rod Collen, whose plane lost contact with ground control while flying over a remote island, has sparked a mystery.
A search is underway for a pilot with 15 years of experience who disappeared after setting out on a mission alone on Monday.
By all accounts, Rod Collen’s plane left Tacoma Narrows Airport in Washington at around 5:30 p.m.
After about seven minutes in the air, as he was passing over Fox Island, his connection suddenly cut out, as reported by Fox News.
Because he didn’t come home when his loved ones expected him to, they reported him missing.
The Search and Rescue Division of the Washington State Department of Transportation has organized a search.
Thomas Peterson, the team’s coordinator, said that data from military radars and signals showed the plane continued flying for another 36 minutes after its signal faded.
Peterson said it is not unprecedented for planes to lose connectivity while in flight.
He explained that the planes they flew had a magneto ignition system, meaning that even if the power went out, the engine would keep running.
There was a rapid “nose dive-like” descent, as evidenced by radar data and altitude information.
Currently, rescuers are combing a 36-square-mile area of rough forest land near Queets.
However, the search is becoming more challenging due to the turbulence and snowfall.
Since “we’re looking for parts of a white airplane down in the trees and we’re finding lots of snow,” Peterson characterized the snow as a “false positive,” if you will.
Peterson, however, continues to hold out hope that Collen can be located.
‘People have survived situations like this for longer periods, so we can give it all the effort we can to see if we can locate this airplane, so that we can get this person back to his family,’ he added.
No one close to Collen knew what he had in mind in the hours before the flight, so they had little to offer in the way of details.
“There was no indication or information from the family that said he wanted to go to ‘X’ or ‘Y,’ and so he was just out on the flight,” Peterson said.
As the search by air has become increasingly difficult due to weather, officials have considered expanding the search with a trained on-foot crew.
Anyone who may have seen or heard a plane in the area is asked to contact the State Emergency Operations Center at 1-800-258-5990.