Crews searching for missing plane near Raleigh-Durham airport

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RALEIGH, N.C. — Crews are searching for a plane that disappeared on radar as it was approaching Raleigh-Durham International Airport, according to the airport.

At about 7:25 p.m. Sunday, FAA Air Traffic Control told the Raleigh-Durham Airport Authority that a small general aviation aircraft headed to the airport was lost in the area of Umstead State Park.

RDU operations crews and firefighters responded and closed the airport runway until about 7:45 p.m.

“Umstead State Park is 5,200 acres of dense forest, with few roads and little to no light,” said Michael Landguth, president and CEO of the Raleigh-Durham Airport Authority. “Recovery efforts are extremely challenging in remote areas and it could take a long time to find this plane.”

A Highway Patrol helicopter was searching for a heat signature from the ground, a typical sign of an aircraft crash landing.

The search was suspended Sunday night and resumed Monday morning. Officials narrowed the search area within the park.

The airport asks the public to avoid the Umstead State Park area while during search and rescue operations.

In addition to airport personnel, more than a dozen other local and state partners are helping in the search effort, including Highway Patrol, N.C. Park Rangers, the Raleigh Fire Department, Raleigh police, Wake County EMS, the Wake County Sheriff's Office, Wake County Emergency Management, Wake County Fire Services, Durham Highway Fire Department, Cary Fire Department, Cary EMS, Wake Forest Fire Department, Holly Springs Fire Department and New Hope Fire Department.

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