Mackinac County plane crash under investigation

By Journal Staff

ST. IGNACE — The Mackinac County Sheriff’s Office is investigating a plane crash that occurred around 9:49 p.m. Friday near the Mackinac County Airport in St. Ignace.

Residents who lived near the airport reported observing a plane “possibly go into the water” in Horseshoe Bay of Lake Huron, according to a press release from the sheriff’s office. The bay is just east of the airport, between St. Ignace and Mackinac Island.

Residents reported that the plane was “flying low and banked to the side” before they heard the impact, police said.

Deputies responded to the area and learned that a plane piloted by a Wisconsin man, who was the sole person aboard the aircraft, had just taken off from the St. Ignace airport and was en route to Mackinac Island, according to police.

Deputies, the U.S. Coast Guard and the Mackinac Marine Rescue responded to the area by boat and began finding debris in the water shortly thereafter.

The agencies continued search efforts throughout the night, with assistance from St. Ignace police and fire departments, the Michigan State Police and a Coast Guard helicopter, as well as the Michigan State Police Dive Team, which is investigating “areas of interest” determined by side scan sonar and other specialized equipment, the release states.

The search continued throughout Saturday morning, with deputies also searching the shoreline near the area of the incident. Additional debris was found Saturday morning, the release states.

The Federal Aviation Administration and National Transportation Safety Board were also contacted about the incident and joined the investigation, the release states.

The pilot’s name has not been released, pending the notification of the family, police said.

No additional information is being released at this time.