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CAP Joins Search for Missing Woman

April 17, 2022

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Rapid City, SD - South Dakota Wing, Civil Air Patrol, was part of the search that found the body of Kay Flittie near Spencer, S.D. in Saturday April 16.  The Sioux Falls woman had been missing for over a week and her abandoned car had been found abandoned on I-90 near the Spencer exit in Hanson County.

“South Dakota Wing turned out 45 members, six CAP vehicles, three aircraft and multiple unmanned drones to search areas assigned by Hanson County,” said Lt. Col. Todd Epp, CAP, the incident commander for CAP’s part of the search. “The search didn’t turn out the way we had hoped, but we take satisfaction in helping Kay’s family gain closure.”

Hanson County, where Flittie’s car was found, requested Civil Air Patrol to join the search in coordination with the state Emergency Operation Center and the air force Rescue Coordination Center.  CAP aircraft flew grid searches in assigned areas, CAP ground teams searched lakeside slough areas and CAP’s small drones searched areas that were hard to access from the ground. Other CAP volunteers assisted with mission planning and logistical support. 

“South Dakota CAP members turned out in force to support this search, even though it was a major religious holiday weekend,” said Col. Michael Marek, South Dakota Wing Commander for CAP. “Our ground teams and drone crews provided good coverage of their assigned areas and CAP also had effective aircrew coverage, performing multiple grid searches over our assigned search area for a high probability of detection. Overall, members were highly resilient and adaptable to the needs of the lead agency for the search, the Hanson County Sheriff’s Office.” 

Civil Air Patrol (CAP) is the civilian auxiliary of the Air Force. As part of USAF support for civil authorities to save lives, CAP is assigned operational missions that relieve suffering, prevent property damage and provide humanitarian assistance. CAP also develops young leaders through its cadet program and promotes aerospace education.  

With close to 400 members in South Dakota with units in Brookings, Custer, Miller/Faulkton, Pierre, Rapid City, Sioux Falls, Spearfish and Tea, the wing can deploy its six aircraft, ground teams and small search drones to assist in disaster response and other support to local, state, tribal and federal agencies.


Tagged As: Search and Rescue

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