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Texas man was pilot of plane that went down in Oconto County

Published: Oct. 27, 2021 at 7:44 PM CDT|Updated: Oct. 28, 2021 at 10:05 AM CDT
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TOWN OF MAPLE VALLEY, Wis. (WBAY) - UPDATE 10/28:

The Oconto County Sheriff’s Office says a 67-year-old Texas man was the pilot of a small plane that went down Wednesday.

The pilot, whose name was not released, was found dead at the scene. The Sheriff’s Office says he was from Grand Prairie, TX.

The Sheriff’s Office says North American Aerospace Defense Command fighter aircraft responded to an “unresponsive, single engine general aviation aircraft” over Wisconsin. NORAD monitored the plane for the potential that it could impact citizens or critical infrastructure.

At about 6:30 p.m., the plane hit the ground near Hickory Corners. It was located in the 9000 block of Yatso Road in the Town of Maple Valley. Searchers were able to find the plane by pinging the cellphone of the pilot and reports from citizens.

NORAD did not use weapons or tactics to take the plane to the ground.

“NORAD employs a layered defense network of radars, satellites, and fighter aircraft to identify aircraft and determine the appropriate response. NORAD is a bi-national command focused on the defense of both the U.S. and Canada. The response to potential aerospace threats does not distinguish between the two nations, and draws on forces from both countries,” reads a statement from the Oconto County Sheriff’s Office.

The Sheriff’s Office, Federal Aviation Administration and Brown County Medical Examiner’s Office are investigating.

The cause of death was not released.

PREVIOUS UPDATE: Authorities say the pilot of a plane that was the subject of a search in Oconto County Wednesday evening is dead.

According to the Oconto County Sheriff’s Office, they received a call about an aircraft that appeared to be descending in the area of Kelly Lake at about 6:15 p.m. Wednesday.

They add the United States Air Force and the Federal Aviation Administration advised them that they were tracking a fixed wing single engine plane. In addition, emergency crews were told the pilot, who was the only person in the plane, was unresponsive.

Authorities say there were two jets escorting the aircraft, and the people on the jets saw the plane fly too low before losing visual contact of the aircraft.

Searchers were eventually able to find the plane by pinging the cellphone of the pilot, as well as calls from citizens.

The Sheriff’s Office says the pilot of the plane was found dead after searchers located the plane between County Road G and County Road K in the Town of Maple Valley.

No other injuries were reported.

As of this time, the FAA, Wisconsin State Patrol, Oconto County Sheriff’s Office and the Brown County Medical Examiner’s Office are investigating the incident.

Authorities have not said if the plane crashed, or if it made an emergency landing.

No other details about the pilot were released.

Officials with the Oconto County Sheriff’s Office say they anticipate more information will be released sometime Thursday morning.

Multiple area fire departments and ambulance agencies helped search for the aircraft, including the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA).

Action 2 News will continue to provide updates as details become available, and will have report live from the scene at 10.

UPDATE; Action 2 News has learned the aircraft that was the subject of a search in Oconto County Wednesday evening has been found.

According to the Oconto County Sheriff’s Office, emergency crews were searching for what appeared to be a small aircraft during the early evening hours.

Few details have been provided about the incident at this time, however members of the Sheriff’s Office say it appeared the aircraft needed to make an emergency landing.

The Sheriff’s Office says the missing aircraft was not a military plane. Major Joe Trovato of the Wisconsin National Guard says none of the Guard’s aircraft crashed Wednesday evening, and all of their aircraft are accounted for.

Members of the Wisconsin State Patrol have blocked off the entry road to a section of Yatso Road.

Action 2 News has a crew on the way to the scene, and will provide updates as information becomes available, and will have the latest at 10.

Oconto County emergency crews are searching for an aircraft.
Oconto County emergency crews are searching for an aircraft.(WBAY Staff)

INITIAL REPORT: Authorities say a search is underway for a plane in Oconto County.

According to the Oconto County Sheriff’s Office, crews are searching for a small aircraft in the area.

The Sheriff’s Office says the missing aircraft is not a military plane.

Few details have been provided about the incident at this time, however members of the Sheriff’s Office say it appeared the aircraft needed to make an emergency landing.

Action 2 News has a crew on the way to the scene, and will provide updates as information becomes available, and will have the latest at 10.

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