Lieutenant Dennis Maloney in St Augustine told Historic City News reporters that the local Civil Air Patrol squadron was called out recently to assist in locating a rogue distress radio beacon; said to be signaling from somewhere near SR-16 and Ponce de Leon Boulevard.
Passing pilots detected the signal generated by the beacon, an emergency homing transmitter used to locate aircraft and pilots in distress, and originally reported the situation to Civil Air Patrol Incident Commander Captain Dan Wood, in Jacksonville.
St Augustine Civil Air Patrol Composite Squadron 173 was dispatched to the incident and, using an electronic direction finder and an aircraft scanner, were able to locate and recover the device from a “discard pile” at St Vincent de Paul Thrift Shop on MacMillan Street.
Team members, Captain Ralph Aviles and Major Wayne Henderson, told Historic City News that this is the second time in less than a year that the local squadron has been called out to find a distress beacon.
Maloney reported that during processing of donated merchandise, thrift shop workers noticed the beacon then discarded it, not knowing what it was. He speculates that the way in which the beacon was handled may have set it off.
Photo credits: © 2012 Historic City News contributed photograph by Lieutenant Dennis Maloney