THIRD UPDATE: “They’re phenomenal:’ Pilot of crashed plane in Whitewater credits rescuers” – article from channel 27 – WKOW.COM
SECOND UPDATE: A more comprehensive report on the rescue is available here.
By Lynn Binnie
Whitewater Banner volunteer staff
Per the Whitewater Fire Department Facebook page, the department was notified at approximately 9:20 p.m. on Saturday, May 15 of a single engine plane crash. The crash was located in the Kettle Moraine Forest in the Town of Whitewater, with rescue efforts causing sections of Highway P south of Whitewater to temporarily close. Multiple other departments, including Janesville and Lauderdale LaGrange, responded. As of 2:19 a.m. on Sunday, all three persons had been removed from the aircraft and were reporting no injuries.
An unnamed reliable source told the Banner that the plane itself was equipped with a parachute which opened, and the plane descended into a 75′ oak tree with the pilot, reportedly in his 50’s, and two passengers in their 20’s, trapped inside. The plane was wedged in a crotch of the tree, fairly high off the ground, and it is unknown how it may be removed.
An article in Air & Space dated May 15, 2018, titled, “Those parachutes for small airplanes really do save lives,” claimed that a study found that 380 lives had been saved by the parachutes. This Youtube video, “Are planes with parachutes really safer,” provides a description of the system, which has been available for over twenty years, apparently only on the Cirrus line of aircraft. Per the video, in the early years the fatality rate for equipped planes was actually higher than the average for general aviation, but more recently use of the system appears to have contributed to preventing deaths or serious injuries.
Press release from Whitewater Fire Department posted to Facebook page approximately 3 p.m. on May 16: