A week and a half after an Arkansas Forestry Commission pilot disappeared while flying a small plane looking for wildfires in western Arkansas, the plane has been found.
Just before 5 pm Tuesday, the commission released this statement:
A Civil Air Patrol plane has located - by sighting from the air - the plane of missing AFC Pilot, Jake Harrell, in an area outside of Glenwood. The site is in Montgomery County and was confirmed by a State Police helicopter. It is unconfirmed at this point if pilot, Jake Harrell, is alive; ground crews, including law enforcement officials, have been deployed to the site.
No other details are known at this time. Updates will be provided as soon as possible. Phone calls from the media will only be taken at the number listed above.
Jake Harrell has been missing since Friday, January 31st, when he failed to check in after communicating with AFC Central Dispatch in Malvern. He was last known flying in an area over Oden along a regularly scheduled wildfire detection route. Jake is 34 years old and has flown with the AFC since 2005 – alongside service with the Arkansas Air National Guard 188th Fighter Wing and employment with the North Little Rock Police Department.
The Incident Command structure in Mena continues as a Unified Command effort with the following partners involved: statewide Arkansas Forestry Commission crews, U.S. Forest Service, Polk, Scott, and Montgomery County Law Enforcement, Arkansas Game and Fish Commission, Arkansas National Guard, Civil Air Patrol, Arkansas State Police, Arkansas Department of Emergency Management, the Arkansas Geographic Information Office, local volunteer fire departments, the Red Cross, and the National Weather Service.
UPDATE 5:55 PM: AFC Spokeswoman Adriane Barnes tells KUAR News that ground crews have reached the site of the wreckage and that pilot Jake Harrell has been found dead.