GILMORE TOWNSHIP, Mich. — The Isabella County Sheriff’s Office says two men suffered unspecified injuries Saturday when their two-seater water-landing airplane plunged into Littlefield Lake in the northern part of the county.
It happened around 1:20 p.m. Saturday in Gilmore Township. That’s southwest of Farwell, and about halfway between M-66 and US-127.
The sheriff’s office says two marine deputies were on the lake patrolling on Jet Skis when they saw the plane attempt to take off from the lake.
When the plane became airborne, it struggled to gain altitude. Deputies saw the plane begin to make a turn when it hit the tree, sending it into the water.
Investigators believe strong wind gusts at the time possibly may have interfered with the take-off.
As the deputies responded, they saw some people in another watercraft helping the two men out of the cockpit. The deputies then helped the victims get onto a pontoon boat, and they were taken to the shore for treatment by fire/rescue and EMS crews.
The pilot and owner of the plane were taken to a hospital with injuries that weren’t life-threatening. Another person was taken to a Grand Rapids hospital by Aero Med in serious condition.
Authorities said the planes owner is from Tennessee. The passenger is listed as a 62-year-old man from Deerfield Township in Livingston County.
The plane was more difficult to get out of the water. It was upside down in the lake for several hours. Police and several people who live around the lake worked with Greens Towing to secure flotation tubes under the plane’s wings to keep it from sinking.
“Once the flotation devices were secured to the wings, sheriffs personnel used ropes to slowly pull the plane with the Jet Skis to the mooring/dock area. The plane was loaded onto a flatbed wrecker and from their it was slowly moved from the lake to a secured impound yard.”
The Isabella County Sheriff’s Office says it’s working with the Federal Aviation Administration, with an investigator from the FAA coming in Monday to investigate the wreckage.
The Morning Sun newspaper reported the plane was an ICON-A5, a”high-wing flying boat-type amphibious monoplane.”