Missing US Pilot, Plane Frustrate Searchers in Africa

February 9, 2015 4:59 PM

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Last year, an American disappeared while traveling alone in a small plane in West Africa, heading to a new job as an anti-poaching pilot in a national park. Investigators think he hit a mountain but the location of his Cessna 172 remains a mystery after a search stymied by limited resources, patchy help from local authorities and forested, mountainous terrain.

Bill Fitzpatrick's last contact with aviation authorities was on the night of June 22 when he calmly gave his position and altitude to a control tower during a nighttime approach to coastal Cameroon. Then, nothing. Both man and plane vanished.

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