‘People in the community want him found’ as search continues for missing Hovland man
Joe Friedrichs

‘People in the community want him found’ as search continues for missing Hovland man

Cook County Sheriff Deputy Will Sandstrom was direct in his assessment of the dozens of volunteers who spent Monday combing the rugged terrain and dense forests near Hovland.

“People in the community want him found,” he said.

The “he” Sandstrom referred to is Denny Pechacek, a Cook County resident who has been missing since Friday night. The Cook County Sheriff’s Department was notified that evening of a missing ultralight aircraft pilot who did not return after a flight in the Hovland area, not far from Lake Superior. The missing pilot, Pechacek, took to the air in a Six Chuter aircraft at approximately 6:30 Friday night near 30 Flute Reed Rd.

According to the authorities, the last sighting of the pilot and the ultralight aircraft with a blue parachute was in the area of Hammer Road in Hovland.

As of Monday afternoon, authorities said Pechacek has yet to be found. Search and rescue efforts will continue Tuesday and for the foreseeable future, Sandstrom told WTIP Monday afternoon at the Hovland Fire Hall.

More than 50 people responded to a request from local law enforcement Monday morning to join the search effort, Sandstrom said. The volunteers spent many hours Monday searching forested areas near Hovland, he added. In addition, numerous community members and local businesses provided food and water for the volunteers and others involved with the ongoing search. It was a bustling scene at the fire hall Monday afternoon. Local residents from all corners of the county moved in and out of the command center and the building’s parking lot. Large trucks, some official search and rescue vehicles, others personal diesel pickup trucks, arrived and departed from the scene as the search for Pechacek continued. Communication radios could be heard from inside the fire hall and across the large parking lot. An overcast sky and occasional rain showers accompanied the ongoing effort to find a missing member of the community.

“We’ll keep at it,” Sandstrom said.

The Cook County Sheriff’s Office is asking anyone who may have seen the aircraft to call and give an approximate location and time to provide better details to the search teams.

Contact the Sheriff’s Office at 218-387-3030.

WTIP’s Joe Friedrichs visited the incident command center Monday for the search and rescue operation at the Hovland Fire Hall. He spoke with Sandstrom outside the fire hall. Listen to the discussion in the audio shared below.