Before a missing plane that originated from Brainerd was discovered this morning it is believed one of the passengers was able to alert his wife that he had survived.
The plane, missing since Monday night and carrying two officials of The Colonel's International, the parent company of Colonel's Brainerd International Raceway, was found on the Black River bank north of Bessemer, Mich., in the Michigan Upper Peninsula's Iron County, the Daily Globe of Ironwood reported. The plane was destined for Flint, Mich.
The Gogebic County Sheriff's Department reported late this morning the pilot and co-pilot were killed in the crash and two passengers were airlifted to a nearby hospital, though they wouldn't identify the victims.
Bill Singleterry, president of The Colonel's International, and George Peck, The Colonel's International's attorney, along with the pilot and co-pilot, were on board the twin-engine Saberliner plane owned by The Colonel's International, according to Don Williamson, chairman and CEO.
The plane reportedly was struck by lightning and attempted to make an emergency landing Monday night, officials said.
This morning in Brainerd Williamson said the plane carrying Singleterry and Peck took off about 6 p.m. Monday from Brainerd-Crow Wing County Regional Airport. At 4:16 a.m. today, he was informed the plane was down in Michigan.
Williamson said he has been in touch with Peck's wife and that she told him her husband called her by cellular phone from a river near Ironwood, Mich., to tell her that both he and Singleterry were alive. The cell phone died before Peck could give any more information, Williamson said of his conversation with Peck's wife.
"It's a tragedy and we'll be praying," said a shaken Williamson. "The only thing I know is that George Peck and Bill Singleterry are in good shape, though this is second- and third-hand information.
"George (Peck) called (his wife) and said he was OK and Bill (Singleterry) was hurt but OK. That is fact."
The Gogebic County Sheriff's Department said it was contacted by aviation officials shortly after 7 p.m., saying that the plane's pilot had reported a loss of power and was headed toward Ironwood airport.
Emergency officials responded to the airport, but the plane did not land, and aviation officials lost contact with the pilot, police said.
(This story contains information from The Associated Press.)
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