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Wis. firefighters rescue 3 from plane crashed in forest

Whitewater firefighters used rope systems to reach the plane occupants suspended 75 feet off the ground

plane suspended in trees whitewater wisconsin

Photo/Whitewater Fire Department

Emily Hamer
The Wisconsin State Journal

WHITEWATER, Wis. — Whitewater firefighters rescued three people after their plane lost power and crashed Saturday night in the Kettle Moraine State Forest, where the aircraft was suspended in trees about 75 feet above the ground, the Fire Department said.

The three occupants were uninjured, according to the Whitewater Fire Department.

Emergency crews responded to a report from Milwaukee Air Traffic Control that a plane had dropped off the radar and possibly crashed just before 9:20 p.m. in the area of Hi-Lo Road in the Kettle Moraine Forest, the Fire Department said. The pilot had also called 911, which helped authorities better locate the plane near the Ice Age Trail off of Highway P.

The aircraft was traveling from Sheboygan to Burlington when it lost power and deployed an emergency parachute, according to initial reports, the Fire Department said.

It took responders from the Fire Department and Walworth County Sheriff’s Office about 45 minutes to find the aircraft, which was suspended in the trees about 75 feet above the ground with the three people still inside, the Fire Department said.

Because of the densely wooded terrain, responders were delayed reaching the crash, the Fire Department said. Crews used rope systems to get the occupants out of the plane and safely to the ground. The rescue took about five hours.

Emergency crews from Janesville, Beloit, Elkhorn, LaGrange and Madison’s Heavy Urban Rescue Team assisted with the rescue. Dudek Tree Service, a Mukwonago tree-cutting business, also helped because of its workers’ experience scaling trees.

The Federal Aviation Administration will investigate the incident and remove the plane, the Fire Department said.


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