Mena, Ark. – Weather conditions made it difficult for ground crews to cover area quickly and safely today in Montgomery County, as the search for AFC Pilot Jake Harrell continues. Harrell has been missing since Friday, January 31, after he failed to check-in after 1:11 p.m.
Individuals involved with the search will increase tomorrow. Incident Command will encompass more divisions, including teams from Polk and Montgomery County. Air operations from the Mena Airport will again involve Arkansas Forestry Commission planes, the Civil Air Patrol and helicopters from the National Guard and the State Police.
“There’s a whole lot of space out there – and the weather continues to slow our efforts. It’s like we’ve said from the start, we are here to find Jake. We remain dedicated to that and we’re not leaving until we return him home,” said State Forester, Joe Fox.
Input today from all participating organizations has been valuable in generating search routes that have not yet been explored in the areas west and south of the space. Forestry officials from the AFC and US Forest Service will continue to comb the area south of Oden – closest to Jake’s last known communication point between his cell phone and a nearby tower. County divisions will include searches in respective county areas. All searchers remain energized, dedicated and hopeful toward success.
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 and Montgomery Law Enforcement, Arkansas Game and Fish Commission, Arkansas National Guard, Civil Air Patrol, Arkansas State Police, Emergency Management crews from Polk and Montgomery County, local volunteer fire departments, and the National Weather Service.