Coast Guard Suspends Search for Possible Small Aircraft Down in Lake Michigan

MILWAUKEE – U.S. Coast Guard Sector Lake Michigan has suspended a search that commenced earlier this afternoon after an Oak Creek Power Plant WE Energies employee reported a small plane had gone down in the water approximately three miles off shore from Oak Creek, Wis.

A 25-foot small response boat and 41-foot utility boat were immediately dispatched from Coast Guard Station Milwaukee to the area of the reported incident.

Early in the search, a Coast Guard HH-65 rescue helicopter crew sighted what was believed to be debris of some type in the water. However, when rescue boats arrived on-scene they only found a small orange marker in the water which did not appear to be related in any way to an aircraft. A nearby small recreational boat reported to rescuers that they had not observed anything out of the ordinary.

Since the initial 911 call regarding the possible aircraft crash, there have been numerous, conflicting reports as to the type and number of aircraft that were seen in the area. Several eyewitnesses reported seeing small seaplanes land and then take off from the water in the vicinity of the reported crash.

The Coast Guard and the Coast Guard Auxiliary worked closely with a collection of law enforcement agencies on the search and investigation into eyewitness reports. These agencies include the Milwaukee Police Department, Milwaukee Fire Department, South Milwaukee Fire Department, Oak Creek Police Department and Oak Creek Fire Department.

After a comprehensive, four-hour search of the area under excellent search conditions, and in the absence of any information regarding missing or overdue aircraft, the Coast Guard has suspended the search pending further developments.

The Coast Guard thanks the numerous local law enforcement and emergency management agencies which quickly volunteered resources and expertise to assist with the search.

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