Jake Harrell (Photo: Pastor Rod Loy)
MENA, Ark. (Arkansas Forestry Commission) - Following morning briefings, crews and equipment are engaging a lengthy, thorough search of segments of the Ouachita National Forest in the area south of Oden. Meetings included an overview of carefully designed search routes by land and air and a detailed weather forecast. Officials are hopeful that with improved weather conditions and clear visibility, the day will be productive in locating missing AFC pilot, Jake Harrell.
Crews include equipped teams, familiar with the challenging terrain consistent throughout the Ouachitas, from the Arkansas Forestry Commission, U.S. Forest Service, Arkansas Game and Fish Commission, and law enforcement from Montgomery and Polk County. At this point, crews do not need assistance from volunteers, but appreciate deeply the support and concern of so many. A very tight accountability system is in place to ensure the safety of search crews amid thick forested land, steep hills, and heavy underbrush. Much of the region is still also affected by ice storm damage, which has created many roads that are impassable for vehicles altogether.
The Incident Command structure in Mena continues as a Unified Command effort with the following partners involved: statewide Arkansas Forestry Commission crews, U.S. Forest Service, Polk and Montgomery Law Enforcement, Arkansas Game and Fish Commission, Arkansas National Guard, Arkansas State Police, Emergency Management crews from Polk and Montgomery County, local volunteer fire departments, the National Weather Service, and the North Little Rock Police Department.