Search for missing Lakeville pilot ends
Bratlie went missing June 8, search crews unsuccessful
The search has been suspended for Lakeville pilot Michael Bratlie, 67, whose plane went missing June 8 north of Duluth after what was supposed to be a day trip from South St. Paul to Duluth and back.
Crews from Minnesota, Wisconsin and Illinois searched for nearly two weeks, covering more than 2,000 miles in northeastern Minnesota without any success, according to the Civil Air Patrol.
Bratlie, a former airline and Navy pilot, was testing out a new engine on his Piper PA-31 Navajo plane, according to various media reports.
Lt. Col. Paul Hertel of the patrol said that likely crash areas were searched multiple times. Patrol volunteers volunteered 641 “person-days” and flew about 62,000 miles over the region in search of Bratlie, he said.
The patrol was able to isolate a general search area – from Silver Bay to the border with Ontario and from Lake Superior inland seven miles – based on data from radar and cell phone signals, reports said. Up to as many as 10 planes and four ground teams were deployed in the area.
There was no evidence Bratlie landed at any of the areas airports, nor was there a flight plan on file, according to the patrol.