CAP Radar, Cell Phone Analysis Lead to Discovery of Downed Plane in Tenn.
A downed airplane with two passengers was located early today near Huntsville, Tennessee, with assistance from Civil Air Patrol’s National Radar Analysis and Cell Phone Forensics teams.
U.S. Department of Agriculture crews found the plane, with one survivor. CAP worked directly with the Tennessee Army National Guard after being called on by the Air Force Rescue Coordination Center once the aircraft was reported overdue from its planned arrival.
Lt. Col. John Henderson, vice commander of the radar team, explained CAP’s role in the search: “The NRAT team was activated for a missing Beechcraft Bonanza scheduled to fly from Venice, Florida, to Urbana, Ohio, a distance of 800 miles. In concert with the Cell Phone Forensics Team, six members of our team were able to find the proper radar track, produce products to help the searchers, and distribute to the field.
“The crash site was found 1½ miles past the last radar hit, with one survivor. It was a true team effort, where high levels of collaboration between the CAP teams and AFRCC pulled all the clues together very quickly for actionable results.”
Maj. Justin Ogden, a member of the CAP National Cell Phone Forensics Team, said that within 30 minutes of being activated his team was able to locate clues from the phones on the Beechcraft that narrowed the search area from six states to a single county in Tennessee.
“Additional review of cell phone clues produced a final recommended search area of 2.6 square miles,” he said. “This allowed local search teams to concentrate their efforts.”
CAP’s Tennessee Wing deployed two aircrews to Scott County, providing aerial support for the overnight search.
“Our teams received a call late last evening and were deployed within two hours,” said Lt. Col. Ande Boyer, incident commander.
"Once again, Tennessee Wing has answered the call to serve and has done so quickly and professionally. I am proud to serve with this dedicated group of volunteers," said Col. Dent Young, Tennessee Wing commander
"While we are thankful that our efforts and the efforts of our partnering agencies were able to locate the site and the surviving passenger quickly, our thoughts and prayers are with the family and friends of the pilot," Boyer said.