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Emergency Crews Narrow Search Field for Missing Pilot

MONTGOMERY COUNTY, Ark. -- Clear skies gave searchers the bird's eye view they were hoping for as they scoured an area about 100 acres looking for a pilot who has been missing since Friday.
It seems certain that we're dealing with some kind of unscheduled landing
MONTGOMERY COUNTY, Ark. -- Clear skies gave searchers the bird's eye view they were hoping for as they scoured an area about 100 acres looking for a pilot who has been missing since Friday.

"Looking at something from above is a lot easier than trying to stand on the ground and look through dense forage," said CJ Norvell of the National Forest Service.

A slew of State and Federal agencies are looking for 34-year-old Jake Harrell.

Flying a single engine Cessna on a wildfire scouting mission for the Arkansas Forestry Commission (AFC), he last made contact with the communications center last Friday just after 1 p.m.

"It seems certain that we're dealing with some kind of unscheduled landing, we're not sure of anything other than that," said Jenimy Williams of the Montgomery County AFC.

On Monday, crews gathered resources at a staging area in Oden.

They're prepared to respond if their guys in the air spot anything.

"The area around Oden is one of the most mountainous areas in the Ouachita National Forest," Williams said.

Searchers are using equipment to track the so-called black box in Harrell's plane, and they've narrowed the search area thanks to a cellphone Harrell had on board.

"We've been able to ID where a last singnal was heard from Jake's aircraft," Williams said.

As the third full day of searching winded down, the urgency to find something was building, especially since the man they're looking for is a fellow public servant.

"It hits next to your heart not that somebody else wouldn't also but when you're looking for one of your own you want to get to him as quickly as you can," Norvell said.


(KARK, Little Rock)

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