Missing plane located off coast of Frankfort; 2 occupants still not found

FRANKFORT — The missing Beech Craft Bonanza 35 has been located about 4.5 miles off the coast of Frankfort in about 500 feet of water.

The occupants do not appear to be with plane, according to the Benzie County Sheriff’s Office and Michigan State Police.

The Michigan State Police Marine Services Team (MSP/MST) located a structure shaped like an aircraft at about 5:15 p.m. on Wednesday using an AUV (Autonomous Underwater Vehicle) with sonar. A rover with video capability was then used to confirm the identity of the plane.

The video was also used to search the area and interior of the aircraft for the pilot and passenger. At this time, they have not been located.

The progress in this search has only been possible due to collaboration between the Benzie County Sheriff’s Office and the Michigan State Police. Both agencies are committed to continued collaboration as the search continues for Emanuel Manos, 53, of Monroe, and Randal Dippold, 65, of Perry.

According to the Benzie County Sheriff’s Office, Minneapolis Air Traffic Control contacted county law enforcement at around 7:50 p.m. on May 12 and reported they had lost contact with a plane approximately 4.5 miles off the coast of Frankfort.

Air traffic control reported the pilot had said the engine was “locked up and dead,” and that the pilot had been advised to try and reach the Frankfort Dow Memorial Airport.

“While we’re happy to provide some additional information to their families, we recognize that closure may be difficult to find without the location of their missing loved ones. Our continued thoughts and prayers are with the family,” stated a press release from the Michigan State Police.

Anyone with additional information is asked to contact the Benzie County Sheriff’s Office at (231) 882-4484.

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