Plane Crash

By: Justin Ware
By: Justin Ware

Just before 10 Saturday morning, Port Edwards police say the pilot of a crashed plane made his way to the paper mill in Port Edwards to place a 9-1-1 call.

His restored World War II aircraft had crashed into the Wisconsin River, barely scratching him, but killing the only passenger he had with him, a 39-year-old woman who just moments before was at a balloon rally at the Wisconsin Rapids airport with her family.

"There's a balloon rally and I'm not really privy to that," said Port Edwards Police Chief Joe Surfluh, "but I know in the past they had had free rides."

Later, balloon rally officials verified the fact that the plane was from their air show and that the woman's two children and husband were there waiting for her return when word of her death reached them.

"Our officers have spoken with them and made that notification. Obviously, never, ever easy to do," said Wood County Sheriff Kurt Heuer.

Saturday night, the Federal Aviation Administration is investigating the crash. So far no cause has been determined.

Port Edwards police say power was knocked out to the paper mill for a period of time and there were power lines down in the river near the accident. No law enforcement officials on the scene were willing to speculate as to whether or not that was what brought the small plane down.