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June 27, 2014 at 7:09 PM

Former Stehekin park ranger missing in Central Africa

From The Wenatchee World:

NCW — Former North Cascades National Park ranger Bill Fitzpatrick is reported missing in Central Africa after the plane he was piloting Sunday never landed at its destination airport in Cameroon.

Fitzpatrick’s disappearance was reported Wednesday by his current employer, African Parks, a South Africa-based organization that works to make the continent’s national parks economically sustainable.

Fitzpatrick took off from Kano, Nigeria, on Sunday in a single-engine Cessna 172 newly purchased by African Parks, the agency said in a news release on its website.

He was on his way to Douala, Cameroon, and then to Brazzaville, Republic of Congo, when he disappeared, the news release said.

His last known contact was at 10 p.m. Sunday, when he reported to the control tower of the Cameroon airport that he was 65 miles away, the news release said.

The plane had been recently flown from the U.S. to Senegal, where it was collected by Fitzpatrick, the news release said. It was to be used in the Republic of Congo for conservation and anti-poaching surveillance in and around Odzala-Kokoua National Park, where Fitzpatrick has worked since November 2013.

Search aircraft and a helicopter are retracing Fitzpatrick’s flight path, the news release said.

Fitzpatrick worked for many years in the Stehekin area. He was the ranger who worked with a civilian in 2008 to try to rescue passengers of a float plane that crashed near the Stehekin dock at the northwest end of Lake Chelan.

Comments | Topics: Central Africa, Wenatchee

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