A pilot was forced to make an emergency landing in Lake Wausau late Sat. morning after experiencing fuel issues. Glen Burt, 60, was the only person on the plane and wasn't injured. Two fishermen who happened to be passing by on their boat when the plane went down, came by and rescued him.
"He was circling around, he went around twice I think," Leroy Gillette said. "And when he come around the third time, I guess his engine just died. And he set it down in the lake and we weren't that far from him. So we went and helped him out of the plane."
Gillette and his fishing partner, Jeff Pfeffer didn't hesitate to pull Burt to safety.
"He just was glad to see someone to help him get out of the water," Gillette said.
The Shawano residents say they called 911 right away, and once they realized Burt was OK, drove him back to Wausau Downtown Airport where he had been practicing take offs and landings that morning.
"And he knew he wasn't going to make the runway and so he put it down in the water," Wausau Fire Dept. Battalion Chief Paul Czarapata said. "That was safer than the enbankment if you look at the number of trees back there."
Thanks to quick action from everyone involved, an incredibly dangerous situation couldn't have gone more smoothly.
"There's rarely an airplane accident that occurs at our airport," manager John Chmiel said. "But the way that everything worked today, worked perfectly. I mean, emergency responders responded when they should have, 911 was called immediately, I was called immediately."
Chmiel says today's crash was nothing more than a fender bender for a plane.
"All of the pieces fell into place today," Czarapata said. "Matter of fact, the gentleman didn't manage to get wet until he wasn't able to get the boat close enough to get into it."
For the two men who had planned on having an uneventful day fishing, they're just glad they were in the right place at the right time.
"I wasn't expecting nothing like that," Gillette said. "But what are you going to do. You do what you do to help."
The Wausau Fire Dept. and Marathon County Sheriff's Office responded to the call. They say the plane does not present a safety risk and isn't leaking fuel into the lake.
The Federal Aviation Administration and the National Transportation Safety Board are investigating why the engine didn't work properly.
The pilot and the airport are still working to get the plane out of the water.