Aviation News

July 23, 2010

Medical Plane Carrying Five People Crashes in Lake Michigan

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Written by: BNO News
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A small medical plane carrying four people and a patient crashed in Lake Michigan on Friday morning, federal and local officials said. Four people remain missing.

The Cessna 206 aircraft (N82531) crashed about eight miles northwest of Ludington, a city in Mason County, shortly after 10 a.m. local time. It earlier departed Alma en-route to the city of Rochester in Minnesota.

An official at Coast Guard Station Ludington said a fishing vessel witnessed the plane crash into Lake Michigan about five miles offshore. He said radar contact with the aircraft was lost around the same time.

Both the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) as well as the Coast Guard said five people were on board the aircraft. A good samaritan pulled one of the victims out of the water and handed him over to a sheriff’s department boat.

Paramedics were evaluating the survivor after he was brought to shore, according to the Coast Guard. The status of the other four people on board was not immediately known and rescue operations were ongoing as of Friday afternoon.

Federal records showed the 1971-build aircraft was registered to Alma-based Freed Construction Co. Its owner, Carol Freed, told BNO News that the aircraft was transporting a patient to the Mayo Clinic in Rochester. She said the Coast Guard was providing her with updates.

“The pilot was talking to FAA air traffic control at Minneapolis center,” said Elizabeth Isham Cory, a spokeswoman for the FAA. “The pilot reported a loss of power to air traffic control approximately 10 minutes before the aircraft went down.”

Minneapolis center is a large multi-state air traffic control facility that handles high altitude traffic for a multi-state area, including parts of Lake Michigan and the state of Michigan.

Both the FAA and the National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) will investigate the cause of the crash.

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