Volunteers To Search For 1972 Wreckage

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A Maine pilot whose airplane went missing 43 years ago now will be the focus of a new search, mounted by a group of volunteer emergency responders and students in a local aviation Explorers post. Lewis Hogan Jr., age 28, was flying a brand-new Citabria on May 2, 1972, from Kennebunk to Augusta, when he disappeared, according to the Bangor Daily News. Search crews never found any trace of the plane or the pilot. Hogan’s brother, Jerome, lives in Bangor and had told his story to the Daily News last October, expressing a hope that authorities would reopen the case, to provide the family with closure. Richard Bowie, director of the nonprofit Downeast Emergency Medicine Institute, said last week his organization will take the lead in reopening the search.

The Daily News contacted the FAA and NTSB, and they said they had no records about the incident. The NTSB’s online database lists the flight as “missing.” Jerome Hogan says it was a stormy day, the airplane was brand-new, and his brother was delivering it to an FBO at Augusta. Shortly after noon, he called in a “mayday” to the tower at Portland. “And that was the last anyone ever heard of him,” Hogan said. Searchers gave up after a week when no sign of the airplane was found. Bowie said his volunteer group and the Explorers will collect and analyze all the data they can find about the day Hogan went missing, to try to re-create the weather conditions and his situation in the cockpit. “I think that it is likely that Mr. Hogan either went down in a thick canopy of woods or he went down in the bottom of a lake,” he told the Daily News. “This will be a good training opportunity for us,” he said. “And it will be a good opportunity to bring the family closure if we can find Mr. Hogan’s plane.”

The Explorers Post 787 said at their Facebook page they will hold a meeting about the search on Jan. 23 at the Old Town Municipal Airport. “This is evolving into a high-profile event, and many volunteers are working together with us to locate this aircraft,” they posted. “We will soon have a Facebook page dedicated strictly for search data, files, photos, comments, etc., and will advise everyone as soon as the site is online.”