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TWO HARBORS - It was a Minnesota family's worst nightmare after a pilot and his plane took off last summer from a St. Paul airport and never returned.
Now, a Northland man finds a passion searching for the lost plane, and is encouraged he could be looking in the right places.
“I believe it’s in this area,” Kal Swanson said.
Pilot Michael Bratlie and his twin engine plane was last seen on June 8th of last year, and after two weeks of an aggressive search, law officials suspended all efforts.
“I can only repeat what the civil air patrol major told me, and he believes it went into Lake Superior,” Swanson said.
However, the Two Harbors man is not giving up hope.
“We just hold the position that somebody is alive until they are found,” Swanson said.
He first heard about the missing plane last September and has been searching ever since.
“By the middle of December, we were going out into the woods and looking for them,” Swanson said.
Although he uses the usual maps and technology, he also uses a less conventional tool.
“A reading is like in dousing. Like if you’re dousing for water, which is a real popular item, or you can douse to find lost objects,” Swanson said.
Dousing, as Swanson calls it, is a method where he holds two metal rods and he claims they can locate lost items.
"May I know where my car is located at the mall. It'll point. Sometimes you might get a false reading at first so you just have to be patient and wait. Then finally it will settle down and point right to where your car is," Swanson said.
However, he said that where the metal rods point is just a starting point, and also uses a combination of maps and technology.
Swanson has even received a letter from the missing pilot's wife, thanking him for his efforts.
And says it’s his new full–time job.
“I’ve worked enough, I have food shelves and I’m retired so I have the time.