February 27, 2009

06CN: Day 9: Search Continues for Missing Adventist Aircraft

Day 9: Search Continues For Missing Aircraft

BY LIBNA STEVENS, news coordinator, Inter-America Division                       [ See Original Story ]

capNine days since a medical plane carrying three Adventists and four others disappeared in the jungles of Gran Sabana in southeastern Venezuela, but no wreckage or survivors have yet been found.

VANUplane search

Searchers receive last minute instructions. [Photo: Venezuela National Civil Aviation Institute]

On board the missing plane was pilot Robert Norton, who directs the work of the Adventist Medical Aviation in Venezuela, his wife, and patients who were being transported for medical treatment.

The search to find the missing Cessna 182N plane has intensified in the air and by land. "Our search groups on the ground have increased to 10 teams searching through the jungle," said Rodolfo Escobar, communication director for the Venezuela Union Mission. "Our church members, along with villagers who are volunteering in the search, are going to continue the search until they find the plane."

Escobar, who is briefed daily on the search, said the conviction of the 106 searchers on foot is inspiring. Each search team is made up of 10 or 12 members, including a medical doctor.

Escobar added that two days ago one team member got lost but was found the next day.

Two helicopters and two small planes have continued the search. They have also been useful in dropping food and supplies to the searchers on the ground. "A lot of resources have been put into this search and we are still hopeful that the plane will turn up soon," said Escobar. "It's in God's hands."