The Federal Aviation Administration plans to conduct an investigation into the crash of a seaplane in the 10300 block of 278th Avenue in Trevor. The seaplane’s pilot, a man from Antioch, Ill., allegedly swam to shore following the crash and did not tell authorities. (Photo by Jason Arndt)

Pilot from Illinois escaped unharmed

By Jason Arndt


The Federal Aviation Administration has started its investigation into the crash of a seaplane, which ended up in Camp Lake on Monday, before the pilot swam ashore and got a ride home to Illinois.

Kenosha County Sheriff David Beth said the crash likely happened around 4:30 p.m., when a resident reported hearing an ultralight seaplane experiencing engine problems.

“One person that I talked to said they thought they heard a plane engine at about 4:30 p.m. and then didn’t hear it anymore,” he said.

The pilot swam about 100-feet to shore and waited at the edge of a driveway in the 10300 block of 278th Avenue to wait for a ride.

While the pilot did not suffer any injuries, according to Beth, he was cold and wet from the swim and took an hour-long shower.

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

More than two hours later, a woman walking her dog saw the plane partially submerged in the water, and immediately notified authorities.

Firefighters from the villages of Salem Lakes and Bristol were among the first on the scene and were unsure of whether the pilot was still inside.

“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.

With assistance from the Kenosha County Dive Team, authorities discovered the pilot was not with the plane, but uncovered numbers from the aircraft.

When authorities checked the registration number, they determined the pilot came from Antioch, where investigators conducted a follow-up interview Monday night.

Investigators learned the pilot planned to return to the lake on Tuesday to retrieve the seaplane.

Additionally, according to Beth, the pilot said he did not experience any problems with the seaplane a couple of days earlier.

“From what I was told (Monday), he said two days ago, he landed the plane without a problem,” Beth said. “(On Monday), for whatever reason, it landed on the water and the hull broke.”

The seaplane, Beth said, consists of two pontoons and a hull. Beth reiterated the importance of notifying authorities of accidents.

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

Beth said the FAA plans to arrive on Tuesday to investigate the incident.

As to whether any charges are possible, Beth said federal authorities have jurisdiction of the crash and would make any determinations.