Civil Air Patrol

Search for overdue aircraft and its pilot comes to an end

For Immediate Release  –  June 23 2012 

Minnesota Wing, Civil Air Patrol – Lt. Col. Paul Hertel, Public Information Officer

The Air Force Rescue Coordination Center in collaboration with the Civil Air Patrol (CAP) is in the process of suspending the search for Mike Bratlie with his twin engine, Piper PA-31 Navajo plane which went missing the evening of June 8.

Minnesota, Wisconsin and Illinois CAP aircrew members, ground teams and mission base staff searched for 13 days. On any given day there were up to 10 search planes and 4 ground teams with up to 70 CAP personnel engaged in the search.

The search also included helicopters from the Minnesota DNR, Minnesota State Patrol and boat search teams from St. Louis County Rescue Squad as well as the Cook and Lake County Sheriffs’ office.  Over 2000 square miles where searched. The most likely areas where Mr. Bratlie would have been found were searched multiple times.

Members of CAP volunteered 641 person days and flew 625 flight-hours covering approximately 62,000 flight miles. CAP expresses their appreciation to all the other organizations they worked with in the search including the U.S. Coast Guard, St. Louis County Rescue Squad, Lake County Sheriff’s Office, Cook County Sheriff’s Office, Minnesota State Patrol, and Minnesota Dept. of Natural Resources.

The all volunteer organization received substantial support from local families, the American Red Cross, Salvation Army, Verizon Wireless, Minnesota Army National Guard, Northern City Baptist Church, Duluth Airport EconoLodge, Black Bear Lodge Cloquet, University of Minnesota Duluth Dorms, Duluth Airport, Monaco Air and the Bratlie Family.

They also thank the media for getting the information to the public to call their local Emergency Center with any information about the missing aircraft. The public notice had generated many calls.  Any one of those calls could have resulted in a find.  If anyone thinks they have found the aircraft please call 911.

Civil Air Patrol, the official auxiliary of the U.S. Air Force, is a nonprofit organization with more than 61,000 members nationwide, operating a fleet of 550 aircraft, CAP, in its Air Force auxiliary role performs 90 percent of continental U.S. inland search and rescue missions as tasked by the Air Force Rescue Coordination Center and was credited by the AFRCC with saving 54 lives in fiscal year 2011.  Its volunteers also perform homeland security, disaster relief and drug interdiction missions at the request of federal, state and local agencies.  The members play a leading role in aerospace education and serve as mentors to more than 27,000 young people currently participating in the CAP cadet program.  CAP received the World Peace Prize in 2011 and has been performing missions for America for 70 years. CAP also participates in Wreaths Across America, an initiative to remember, honor and teach about the sacrifices of U.S. military veterans. Visit  or  for more information.

For MEDIA inquiries concerning mission operations, the Public Information Officer (PIO) is Lt. Col. Paul Hertel, at: 618-416-5180.  Please contact him with any questions or requests for updates.  Please note phone number change.

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