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No Clues in Search for Lost Plane

January 12, 1987

ELLENSBURG, Wash. (AP) _ Scores of people in airplanes, helicopters, cars and snowmobiles scoured snowy central Washington for a plane carrying two young women which vanished during what was to be a brief pleasure flight.

The women, daughters of two Spokane officials, failed to return Thursday from a flight in a two-seat Cessna 150.

About 125 searchers in 45 airplanes and six helicopters, as well as dozens of people in ground vehicles, hunted over the weekend for Christine Karstetter, 24, of Seattle, the pilot, and Lisa Brockett, 21, a junior in Central Washington University’s flight technology program.

Among the searchers were the women’s fathers, Spokane Valley Fire Battalion Chief Dick Karstetter and Spokane County Prosecutor Donald Brockett.

The search will continue through Tuesday, but many volunteers had to return to work, said Malcolm J. McIver, search coordinator for the Washington state Division of Aeronautics.

He said late Sunday that searchers had found ″absolutely nothing - no clues, no signs of anything.″

The women took off Thursday from Bowers Field near Ellensburg, saying the would be gone no longer than 90 minutes.

Both women are licensed pilots. Ms. Karstetter is an executive jet co-pilot for Pacific Northwest Bell, said Nancy Bernstrom of the phone company in Seattle.

For family members, little things helped keep hope alive.

″She does have matches with her, she does have mirrors, she does have flares, so that’s really encouraging,″ Brockett said. He said his daughter used to tell a friend that ″if she went down, she would have enough candy bars to keep her alive for a week.″

The search, concentrated in flatlands and mountainous terrain, was hampered by the problem of spotting a mostly white airplane against a snowy ground, McIver said.

On Saturday, one of the search planes crashed, but none of the three people aboard was seriously hurt.

″Search flying is an inherently dangerous form of flying,″ said McIver, ″but we’re not giving up.″

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