Volunteers still needed; Search continues for missing pilot

Volunteers are needed to assist with the ground search for a missing Cook County pilot. The Cook County Sheriff’s Office is requesting volunteers to report to the Hovland Fire Hall, located at 5049 East Highway 61, at 8 am on Monday.

The Cook County Sheriff’s Office is searching for Denny Pechacek. Pechacek has been missing since Friday, August 18.

According to the Cook County Sheriff’s Office, Pechacek was flying an ultralight plane that took off from approximately 30 Flutereed Rd. but did not return.

Cook County Search and Rescue was called out, along with Hovland Fire to begin searching on Friday evening. A fixed wing aircraft from the Minnesota State Patrol was utilized to begin an air search of the area. The last sighting of the pilot and the ultralight was around Hammer Road in Hovland.

Authorities are asking anyone who may have seen the aircraft to please call and give an approximate location and time to provide better details to the search teams. Please call the Sheriff’s Office at 218-387-3030.

Cook county sheriff deputy Will Sandstrom shared with WDIO that this morning more than 50 volunteers offered their time searching the ground around where the last known site and the predict site area of the ultra-light.

Three drone operators did an aerial search, and another fixed-wing aircraft joined the search this afternoon.

Those interested in volunteering for the ground search must be physically able and prepared for foot travel in rugged, brushy terrain and be able to commit for a day. Volunteers must be prepared with proper clothing, including reflective clothing/vest, and footwear.

Field assignments for volunteers may be up to two hours in-between rest periods. Volunteers should bring water, snacks, and lunch and be familiar with map and compass use, preferably GPS.