The Federal Aviation Administration and Department of Natural Resources are investigating the crash of a seaplane in the 10300 block of 278th Avenue in Trevor (Jason Arndt/The Report).

Illinois man left damaged seaplane on Camp Lake

By Jason Arndt

While federal and state authorities continue their investigation into a damaged seaplane found in Camp Lake, the Kenosha County Sheriff’s Department will not recommend criminal charges against the Illinois pilot who left it there, according to Sgt. Mark Malecki.

The pilot, from Antioch, told authorities that on Oct. 29 he attempted a “touch and go” maneuver in his ultralight seaplane, which consists of touching the water with the plane, proceeding on the water and taking off again, when the plane experienced mechanical issues.

“The hull of the plane broke apart causing the aircraft incapable of taking off again,” Malecki said. “This resulted in the plane coming to rest in the lake.”

Kenosha County Sheriff David Beth, meanwhile, believes the incident happened around 4:30 p.m., when a resident reportedly heard the seaplane experiencing engine failure.

The pilot, who was unharmed, then swam to the shoreline, where he received a ride home to Antioch from a nearby resident.

“He went home and was in the shower for an hour because he was freezing cold,” Beth said after investigators interviewed the pilot.

Less than two hours later, a woman walking her dog in the 10300 block of 278th Avenue saw the seaplane in the water, and decided to call authorities at around 6:15 p.m.

Along with fire departments from the villages of Salem Lakes and Bristol, the Kenosha County Dive Team arrived to the lake, where they conducted an immediate underwater search.

At the time, according to Beth, authorities believed the pilot was still in the water.

“They didn’t have any clue, they were under the assumption that the pilot was still out there, and they had to find him,” he said.

However, after the search, which uncovered the seaplane’s registration number, authorities determined he was not on the scene.

Using the registration number, investigators discovered the seaplane belonged to an Antioch man, who said he planned to retrieve the broken aircraft the following day.

The man who will not be identified because charges have not been filed said he landed his seaplane without a problem the previous day.

Beth said the Federal Aviation Administration and Department of Natural Resources are leading the investigation.

Although the Sheriff’s Department will not pursue charges, Beth said the pilot should have reported the incident.

“This is something he should have been more cognizant of,” he said.


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