Two injured when plane crashes in to Littlefield Lake

August 1, 2019

Isabella County Sheriff’s Department photo

By Pat Maurer

A pilot and his passenger were both injured when their rare plane crashed into Littlefield Lake in northwestern Isabella County Saturday afternoon.
According to Isabella County Sheriff Michael Main the plane was a single-engine amphibious ICON-A5, which could take off, and land on either land or water.

Deputies patrolling the lake on Jet Skis saw the plane take off, struggle to gain altitude, then turn, strike a tree and “take a nosedive” into the water.
Strong wind gusts at the time may have interfered with the takeoff, a release from the Sheriff’s Office said.

The patrolling deputies immediately went to the location where the plane hit the water. Passengers from another vessel in the area were already there to help the pilot and passenger from the plane, into the water and onto a nearby pontoon. They were taken to shore and treated by rescue units and Emergency Medical Services.

The pilot and plane owner, Tyrone Finch, 54 of Tennessee was slightly injured. He was treated and has been released from the hospital. His passenger, Patrick Jarman, 62 of Deerfield Township more seriously injured and flown by Areomed helicopter to Grand Rapids where he was listed in serious condition. He is reportedly recovering, and expected to be released soon, Sheriff Michael Main reported.

A release from the ICSO said the aircraft had a parachute for the plane itself which is triggered by an explosive propulsion device. Because the device was only partially activated, it “created a safety concern for investigators.

The plane was upside down in the water for several hours, the release said. Floatation devices secured under the wings by deputies with the help of several lake residents and Green’s Towing staff kept the plane from sinking until ropes were attached to pull the plane to the dock area, where it was loaded onto a wrecker and taken to an impound yard.

Main said, “FAA [Federal Aviation Administration] worked with the manufacturer and with the help of Green’s Towing staff, they were able to remove the plane’s explosive parachute device safely.”

The device was taken to a secure area until a Michigan State Police Bomb Unit responded. The MSP Bomb Unit moved the device to a gravel pit to detonate it.

Main continued in a Monday post that the Sheriff’s Office, working with the FAA and NTSB [National Transportation Safety Board] were still investigating the crash and had not released the airplane.

Nottawa Sherman Fire Department, Green’s Towing and Mobile Medical Response assisted with the rescue. Sheriff Main thanked everyone who assisted in the rescue of the pilot and passenger and for the recovery of the plane.

Photo taken before the crash by Christie Antes

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