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Search for missing plane continues along North Shore

The search for the missing twin-engine plane that disappeared Friday during a round-trip flight from St. Paul to Duluth moves into its sixth day today.

The search for the missing twin-engine plane that disappeared Friday during a round-trip flight from St. Paul to Duluth moves into its sixth day today.

Wednesday's air and ground search with 50 volunteer crews working out of the Duluth International Airport failed to find the missing plane and its pilot, Mike Bratlie, 67, of Lakeville, Minn.

But the Civil Air Patrol's request for calls from the public with any information about the missing plane has generated numerous calls to local law enforcement or 911. A few have provided supporting information for the search, according to Lt. Col. Keith Bischoff, a Civil Air Patrol spokesman.

Bischoff was not available Wednesday evening to elaborate.

The search -- which has focused on the North Shore, Lake Superior and heavily forested areas in Cook County -- will continue today with Minnesota and Wisconsin Civil Air Patrol air crews and ground teams.

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The search has been boosted by the support of local restaurants that have helped the Northland American Red Cross feed volunteers in the search.

"Restaurants in Duluth and Hermantown have really stepped up, in some cases dramatically increasing the amount of donated food on short notice, as the number of volunteers increased," Judy Hanne Gonzalez, the Red Cross regional executive director, said in a statement. "Donations like those being made by these fine restaurants really make a difference during a difficult time. We're grateful for the help."

Those restaurants include Do North Pizzeria in Hermantown, the Olive Garden, McDonald's, Subway and Grandma's Restaurants.

The food and water donated has boosted the volunteer effort, Bischoff said in Wednesday's search update.

Bratlie, a retired Navy and Northwest Airlines pilot, left from South St. Paul on Friday in a Piper PA-31 Navajo. Family notified the Federal Aviation Administration when he failed to return that night.

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