Pilot Says Crash Into Camp Lake 'No Big Deal', Authorities Say Otherwise

Mike Krauser
October 30, 2018 - 8:55 am

Amee Janus/Kenosha News


CHICAGO (WBBM NEWSRADIO) -- First responders searched for hours Monday afternoon after the wreckage of a small plane was seen in a lake in Kenosha County, because nobody informed authorities the pilot was okay.  

An ultralight seaplane crashed Monday afternoon around 4:30 p.m. into the waters at Camp Lake near 103rd Street and 278th Avenue. The pilot, a man from Antioch, apparently swan to safety after the crash and got a ride home, but never alerted authorities. 

The plane was damaged and partially submerged when Kenosha County Sheriff David Beth spoke with reporters at a news conference Monday night about 100 feet from the crash site.

"The only thing I can tell you about the pilot is that my sergeant said that he is very talkative, he did not make it sound like he thought this was a big deal at all, he said he thought he told somebody that the plane went down and to please let everyone know he was okay. That person never relayed the message," he said.

A woman walking her dog saw the wreckage and called authorities. But by then, someone else had seen the man wet and cold on shore and gave him a ride home. 

"Someone saw him right here, saw him all wet, saw him shivering cold and said, ‘I’m going to give you a ride home,’" Beth said, but that person did not let authorities know the man was okay. 

And because authorities were not notified, Beth said the crash was treated as a pretty big deal, with large response to the scene including boats and dive teams.

"This is a pretty big deal. You can tell by all the fire trucks and all the rescue personnel that are here. They actually sent divers out there and boats out there. He should have made a quick phone call to us, to somebody, besides telling a person who was giving him a ride back home. It created quite the emergency. Someone really could have gotten hurt looking for him," Beth said. 

The pilot was contact several hours after the search once authorities found numbers on the plane that helped identify the owner. The pilot was not injured and his plan was to retrieve the aircraft the next day.

Authorities cleared the scene around 8:30 p.m. Monday night.