A missionary from Waseca disappeared while piloting his small plane through a tropical storm on a trip from South Africa to Mali 10 days ago, MPR reports.
Family and friends of 54-year-old Jerry Krause believe he could still be alive, after initial searches failed to turn up any wreckage or emergency signals near the Gulf of Guinea, where Krause was last heard from. The Gulf of Guinea has recently become a hot spot of armed pirate activity, a fact that worries Krause's family.
"After much research and digging, there is a 50 percent chance that Jerry's plane crashed," Krause's family said in a post on their website Wednesday, according to the Pioneer Press."That other 50 percent is the probability that he was captured and forced to fly for some drug lords or guerrilla members. There is evidence now to support both scenarios."
Krause, who has lived in Mali for 16 years, and his wife served as a missionaries with the Mission Aviation Fellowship until it left the country in 2009. The Krauses chose to stay in Mali, despite increases in jihad-related violence. During his flight, Krause was in contact with a control tower on an island off the coast of Gabon. Lightning struck the tower, cutting all communication, the tower control operator said. When power came back on, no contact with Krause could be made.
After days of uncertainty and difficulties with Krause's cell phone company and local authorities helping with the search, his family filed a missing person's report with the United States, which will allow the National Transportation Safety Board to begin an investigation into his disappearance.