Search continues for a missing Muskogee doctor and his airplane

Tuesday, January 18th 2005, 10:20 am
By: News On 6

A Muskogee doctor missing since Friday remains the subject of an intense search. The plane piloted by Dr Jack Nolan disappeared from radar and an aerial search hasn't turned up any clues.

News on 6 reporter Emory Bryan says the Civil Air Patrol continues to canvas south central and southeast Oklahoma for the missing plane. So far, they've found nothing, but all the evidence points to that area of the state.

After a flight from Muskogee to Paris, Texas, radar tracked the plane from there to Gerty, Oklahoma - on a path towards Shawnee. The pilot is Dr Jack Nolen, a 73 year old semi-retired physician. He was piloting a single engine, two-seater, called a Kitfox Lite Squared.

He missed Sunday services at his church in Muskogee - and the congregation missed him. Pastor Kevin Tully with St Paul United Methodist Church: “he's got his spot where we know to look for him every Sunday morning.” Doctor Nolen's church family spent this Sunday in prayer. “I just wanted to make a special effort so instead of doing what we normally do to end a service, I asked that everybody take a moment in their seat or come to the alter rail if they wished to offer a prayer for him.”

Dr Nolen’s pastor says even though he's been in this church less than a year, he quickly jumped in to help, providing free medical care and recruiting other doctors to help in a free clinic run by the church. Doctor Nolen serves as director of the Good Shepherd Clinic, for people who can't afford to pay for medical care. “Whatever has happened already has, but we pray and we're confident that he's in God's care and we hope for the good and happy ending that we wish for.”

The search is over for a fifth day, with no sightings of wreckage. Authorities believe it's likely the plane is down, but still possible Dr Nolen might have flown literally under the radar to a safe landing.

Even though Dr Nolen’s plane was technically an ultra-light, it was well equipped. It had an aviation radio, GPS navigation, an emergency beacon and a parachute, that can support the entire plane.