WASECA, Minn. - Having faced trouble before, when 54-year-old Jerry Krause did not check in with his wife earlier this month, his family thought he would eventually.
But then the hours turned into days and they knew something was wrong.
"Because there was a storm, because the tower did lose contact, could he have crashed," asked Krause's sister-in-law, Beth Krause.
Krause, a pilot, took off from Johannesburg, South Africa three weeks ago on his way to his home in Mali, Africa where he lives with his wife. He refueled in Namibia near the shores of west Africa, but never made it to his next refueling location on the Island of Sao Tome.
Krause grew up in Waseca but moved to Africa with his wife more than two decades ago to become missionaries. It's where they raised their three chilDren who are now grown.
A ground search has turned up nothing.
"We've already ruled out a land crash; now we need to rule out if he crashed in the ocean," she said.
But in order to do that they need what is called a deep sea pinger that can trace the beacon on Krause's plane. A beacon that is about to run out of battery.
"The urgency is that it only stays charged for a month. Our month is over May 7th," said Krause.
They've asked both Senators Amy Klobuchar and Al Franken to petition the state and defense departments to help with the effort.
"At the senator's direction his staff has been in touch with the State Department and stands ready to support their efforts," said Franken spokesperson Alexandra Fetissoff.
"Senator Klobuchar has personally spoken with the U.S. Ambassador to Gabon and the Department of Defense and has directed our staff to do everything possible to get answers and help the family," said spokesperson Brigit Helgen.
Helgen says Klobuchar's office has also petitioned the U.S. Department of Defense. It has a deep sea pinger at its U.S Naval station in Spain, according to the Krause family, but military officials will not move the device to help in the search.
"We are urging the Department of Defense to reconsider its decision," said Helgen.
They family has now taken to Facebook, setting up a page in hopes of gaining attention, while fearing the unknown.
"He could have been ambushed; it could be a hijacking," said Krause.
The family has been able to get a shallow sea pinger, which divers will use Saturday when they search the waters, but Krause says it can detect objects only so far down.
"There are so many things happening in the world and around us, I know he's just one person, but he's our loved one," she said.
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