USCG suspends its search for 3 missing near Palau

Published April 5, 2012 10:00AM (EDT)

MELEKEOK, Palau (AP) — The U.S. Coast Guard is suspending its search for an American pilot and two Palau police officers whose plane disappeared Sunday near Palau in the western Pacific.

Capt. Casey White said in a Coast Guard statement Thursday it was still supporting local search efforts. The Cessna that disappeared Sunday carried pilot Frank Ohlinger and passengers Willy Towai and Earl Decherong.

The plane was trying to reach a Chinese boat suspected of clam poaching. But Ohlinger radioed to say his GPS navigational device failed and later to report low fuel.

The search flotilla included the mega-yacht Octopus owned by Microsoft co-founder Paul Allen. He was aboard the yacht Sunday, although it's not clear if he stayed throughout the search.

Palau is about 500 miles east of the Philippines.

By Salon Staff

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