Sunshine Gives Hope To Find Missing Pilot

Feb 11, 2014

Mena, Arkansas
Credit AMWRanes/

After a week and a half of searching, the Arkansas Forestry Commission is hopeful it will find its missing pilot.

Commission spokeswoman Adriane Barnes said the sunshine on Tuesday will allow the search crew to do a very detailed search.

“We have real visibility paired with some very detailed maps with layered pieces of information in there about areas already searched, about areas of priority based on communication with Jake’s cell phone provider, and most valuable is all of the leads are mapped.”

Barnes said she is grateful for all the information coming from local residents about plane sightings.

Jake Harrell has been missing since flying a small plane looking for forest fires in western Arkansas.

Barnes said so far they have found no signs of the pilot or plane.

“Whether or not we’re looking into the right area may have a factor in that, whether the plane continues to be covered in snow could," Barnes said.  "It is a 950,000 acres search area, so we’re doing our best to look in every piece of that. But, you pair a 950,000 acres with bad weather and you get a missing pilot search that takes this long,” Barnes said.

34-year-old Harrell was last heard on Friday, Jan. 31 at 1:11 p.m.

The search will still be conducted around Mena, which is a mountainous area.