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‘I saw ’em miss the wires,’ Neighbor recalls night of plane incident in Oconto that killed one man

Local News
THURSDAY 10/28/2021 10:04 a.m.

MAPLE VALLEY, Wis. (WFRV) – A fighter aircraft responded to the incident involving a single-engine plane in Oconto County, but didn’t need to use any weapons or ‘tactics’.

According to the Oconto County Sheriff’s Office, the North American Aerospace Defense Command (NORAD) had a fighter aircraft respond to the incident involving the unresponsive single-engine plane in Wisconsin. NORAD says they monitored the aircraft throughout the event and did regular assessments of possible impact to citizens and ‘critical infrastructure’.

NORAD notified the Oconto County Sheriff’s Office Emergency Dispatch Center that the plane hit the ground near Hickory Corners around 6:30 p.m. No weapons or tactics were reportedly used by NORAD.

Local 5’s Erinn Taylor spoke with Bruce Makholm who lives near the area and saw the plane, “Just saw ’em miss the wires and assumed that it had crashed somewhere close.” The plane had come to rest in a cornfield across from Makholm’s home.

The pilot was identified as a 67-year-old from Grand Prairie, Texas. The name of the pilot has not been named, as officials need to notify the next of kin. At this time, officials are still looking into whether this was a crash or an attempted emergency landing.

The investigation is still ongoing, Local 5 will continue to update this story as more information is released.

ORIGINAL: Pilot found dead in Oconto County plane crash, cause under investigation

WEDNESDAY 10/27/2021 9:08 p.m.

OCONTO COUNTY, Wis. (WFRV) – A pilot is dead after multiple law enforcement agencies searched for a missing plane Wednesday night.

According to a release, the Oconto County Sheriff’s Office was alerted to an aircraft that appeared to be losing altitude near Kelly Lake in Oconto County around 6:15 p.m.

Deputies say the United States Air Force and the Federal Aviation Administration told the Oconto Co. Sheriff’s Office they were in the process of tracking a fixed-wing single-engine beech plane. They explained the aircraft was dark on the bottom and light on top.

The Emergency Dispatch Center reports they were told there was only one person in the plane, a pilot, who was unresponsive.

The report states the two jets escorting the plane told law enforcement it flew too low and they lost visual contact. Furthermore, the Federal Aviation Administration used a helicopter to try and locate the lost aircraft.

Officials report they eventually found the plane between County Road G and County Road K in the Town of Maple Valley by pinging the pilot’s cellphone, as well as calls from citizens.

When law enforcement got to the aircraft, they say the pilot was found dead. No other injuries or passengers were reported.

The incident remains under investigation by the Oconto County Sheriff’s Office, the FAA, the Wisconsin State Patrol, and the Brown County Medical Examiner’s Office.

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