The search for missing Bay Area teacher Ed Cavanaugh in the backwoods of El Dorado County has included the use of a drone.
The California National Guard launched the remotely piloted aircraft on Wednesday to hunt for the 45-year-old last seen July 17 when he split away from his friend during an off-road ride in the Georgetown Divide.
The National Guard MQ-9 Reaper drone was used to aid civilian authorities in firefighting during the 2013 Rim fire near Yosemite. This is the first time the aircraft has been used in a search.
“We hope that this aircraft is able to provide El Dorado County with valuable information to the on-the-ground personnel,” said state Office of Emergency Services Director Mark Ghilarducci.
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An Air Force fact sheet on the MQ-9 Reaper lists the wingspan at 66 feet and a fuel capacity of 600 gallons. The aircraft is listed with a range of 1,150 miles.
When part of the Air Force mission plan, the MQ-9 Reaper is an armed, medium-altitude aircraft that is employed primarily for intelligence collection.
Cavanaugh was last seen riding his blue Yamaha YZ250 motorbike in the Rock Creek trail system in the Georgetown area. Cavanaugh, a diabetic, is a teacher at San Francisco’s Downtown Continuation High School.
The Sheriff’s Office said he was last seen wearing Fox brand dirt bike riding clothing and a black helmet. If anyone has information regarding Cavanaugh, contact the sheriff’s dispatch at 530-621-6600.