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Three-state search on for missing plane carrying two Cumberland-area men

February 22, 2008

CUMBERLAND, Md. (AP) -- Aerial and ground crews searched in Maryland, Pennsylvania and West Virginia Friday for a small plane carrying two Cumberland-area men that disappeared Thursday night while preparing to land at the Cumberland Regional Airport, authorities said.

The single-engine Beechcraft Bonanza was piloted by veteran pilot Dave Summerfield of Rawlings and also carried property developer Rob Kessel of Cumberland, airport manager Terry Malone told the Cumberland Times-News.

They had flown to Charleston, W.Va., Thursday morning on business and were returning Thursday night, Malone said. He said their last communication was with the Cleveland Flight Center in Cleveland at 8:02 p.m.

"There has been no contact since. We have checked at all other airports. There is no signal for the emergency locator transmitter," Malone said.

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He said that at the time of their last communication, the plane was "just north of Rocky Gap," a Maryland state park near the Maryland-Pennsylvania border about six miles from Cumberland.

The Cumberland Regional Airport is in Wiley Ford, W.Va., just across the Maryland state line.

Malone declined to identify the owner of the airplane, which he said had good maintenance records.

The Civil Air Patrol set up a mission center at the Hagerstown Regional Airport in Hagerstown, about 70 miles east of Cumberland, said Col. Kay Joslin Walling. The Civil Air Patrol is a nonprofit, volunteer auxiliary of the U.S. Air Force that performs inland search and rescue missions.

Maryland State Police flew two search missions Thursday night before weather grounded the police helicopter, the Times-News reported.

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