Plane crashes into Lake Winnebago - two fatalities identified
OSHKOSH, Wis. (WBAY) -
On Sunday, July 30, 2023, the names of the victims in this crash were released by EAA officials. They are identified as 30-year-old Devyn Reilly of Guadalupe, Texas, and 20-year-old Zach Colliemoreno.
On Saturday, July 29, 2023, at around 9:07 a.m. the Winnebago County Sheriff’s Office Communications Center began receiving multiple 911 calls about an airplane that had crashed into Lake Winnebago near the northern edge of the Oshkosh City Limits. First reports from the US Coast Guard indicate that it was a T-6 Texan aircraft.
The Winnebago County Marine Units with Dive Rescue/Recovery Team members, along with the Oshkosh Fire Department, Winneconne Fire Department, Neenah Menasha Fire Rescue, Calumet County Sheriff’s Office, Wisconsin DNR, US Coast Guard, and the US Coast Guard Auxiliary all responded to the scene to immediately begin an emergency rescue response.
The Winnebago County Sheriff’s Office confirmed that there were 2 total occupants aboard the plane and that recovery efforts for the occupants and also the plane are ongoing. They are working closely with EAA, the NTSB, and the FAA.
The US Coast Guard also confirmed seeing an oil slick and debris floating in the water.
“We heard a big bang, I got turned around at the time, I did not see anything, so I took off with the rest of the boats. When we got on the scene, all we really saw was just a lot of debris floating in the water, aviation fuel and stuff. We were not able to find anybody,” said Scott Vanasten, a witness.
The plane is described as fractured and completely submerged underwater. It is unclear how long it will take divers to extricate the wreckage.
“The position of the plane is making it difficult to recover the second body. Our dive team is working diligently to try to get into the plane to find the second body,” said Lieutenant Darin Rice from the Winnebago County Sheriff’s Office, adding: “Initial responders were unable to get to the aircraft immediately and recovery efforts have been ongoing throughout the day.”
The Coast Guard had tweeted that the plane was “rapidly maneuvering before rapidly descending from about 3,000 feet altitude.”
“Obviously our condolences go out to the families who are impacted by this,” Lieutenant Rice said.
Please continue to avoid the area of Asylum Bay Boat Launch so that recovery efforts may continue safely.
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