18:21 PM

Radar, Cell Phone Forensics Teams Guide Searchers to Fatal N.D. Crash Site

Civil Air Patrol’s National Radar Analysis Team and National Cell Phone Forensics directed searchers to a fatal crash site early today after a Medevac plane was reported missing in North Dakota.

The Air Force Rescue Coordination Center contacted the two CAP teams at 2 a.m. Eastern time after the aircraft fell off Federal Aviation Administration Air Traffic Control Center radar screens while climbing through 14,000 feet. The plane was traveling from Bismarck to Williston.

Using radar data forensics in collaboration with cell phone data forensics, the CAP teams pinpointed the crash site and provided detailed maps to CAP’s North Dakota Wing and state and local authorities. The crash site was located shortly thereafter, with three individuals aboard fatally injured.

“While the outcome was not what we had hoped for, we were once again able to collaborate with the Cell Phone Forensics Team and provide local responders with accurate information on where to look for the crash site,” said Lt. Col. Mark Young, radar team commander.

“Our teams continue to develop tools to produce more accurate data much faster in an effort to get fire, emergency medical service and search and rescue resources to the crash site as quickly as possible to save lives,” he said.

“The radar and cell phone intel was invaluable to helping us all bring this SAR to a rapid, albeit tragic conclusion,” said Lt. Col. Sean M. Johnson, who’s not only North Dakota Wing chief of staff for missions but also the state search and rescue coordinator for the North Dakota Department of Emergency Services.

The FAA and National Transportation Safety Board will be investigating the crash.