Desperate search on for plane that vanished after takeoff from Georgia

Authorities are searching for a small Zenith STOL aircraft that vanished above Alabama on Thursday night after taking off from northwest Georgia, according to reports. Officials said the plane was on the return flight of a round-trip between Georgia and Mississippi when it disappeared northeast of Birmingham in Etowah County, about 90 miles west of Calhoun.

Credit: Courtesy The Zenith Aircraft Company

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Authorities are searching for a small Zenith STOL aircraft that vanished above Alabama on Thursday night after taking off from northwest Georgia, according to reports. Officials said the plane was on the return flight of a round-trip between Georgia and Mississippi when it disappeared northeast of Birmingham in Etowah County, about 90 miles west of Calhoun.

Credit: Courtesy The Zenith Aircraft Company

Authorities are searching for a small, lightweight plane that vanished above Alabama on Thursday night after taking off from northwest Georgia, according to reports.

A pilot, who has not been identified, was the only person aboard the Zenith STOL aircraft.

Officials said the plane was on the return flight of a round-trip between Georgia and Mississippi when it disappeared northeast of Birmingham in Etowah County, about 90 miles west of Calhoun.

The pilot was scheduled to refuel in Tupelo but instead circled back toward Georgia without landing, The Associated Press reported.

Officials speculated the plane may have gone down around Aurora Lake, south of Boaz, The Gadsden Times reported, citing officials with the Etowah County Sheriff’s Office.

When first alerted to the missing plane about 8:15 p.m. Thursday, Etowah County Sheriff Jonathon Horton launched an immediate search of areas around Alabama Highway 179, according to reports.

“The area where they are searching is thick, thick woods. They were out there all night, and they are still out there this morning,” said sheriff’s spokesperson Tammy Bean, according to the Times.

Helicopters and ground crews worked through the night and all of Friday searching a 3-mile radius of dense forest in Etowah County, but so far have found no signs of the plane nor any signs of wreckage.

Several police agencies and volunteer fire crews also joined the search, according to reports.

Chopper teams used equipment with FLIR technology that can detect body heat, according to reports.

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