Authorities search for small plane that vanished from radar near NC airport

dmadau/iStock(RALEIGH, N.C.) — Authorities are still searching for a small plane that vanished from radar on Sunday night near the Raleigh-Durham International Airport in North Carolina.

Air traffic controllers with the Federal Aviation Administration alerted the Raleigh-Durham Airport Authority at around 7:30 p.m. local time that radar contact was lost with a Piper PA32 approaching the airport, according to a statement from the FAA. The single-engine aircraft typically has around six seats.

The small, privately-owned plane disappeared in the vicinity of William B. Umstead State Park, east of the airport. Local and state authorities have been on the ground and in the air searching for the aircraft ever since, according to a press release from the Raleigh-Durham Airport Authority.

“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.”

Authorities have asked members of the public to avoid the area around the state park while search and rescue efforts are underway.

The airport runway was shut down immediately after the FAA alert, but then reopened and resumed normal operations later that evening.

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