After nearly 13 hours of being stranded in a crashed airplane in stormy weather, two survivors directed rescue efforts with the help of a 911 call on a cell phone Tuesday in Michigan's Upper Peninsula.
The plane, owned by The Colonel's International, parent company of Colonel's Brainerd International Raceway, was apparently struck by lightning and crashed while pilots attempted to make an emergency landing at Gogebic-Ironwood County Airport in Ironwood, Mich.
The two pilots were killed in the crash. The survivors, William Singleterry, 55, Flushing, Mich., and George Peck, 44, Bloomfield, Mich., were stranded on a riverbank near Ironwood, Mich.
Singleterry is president of The Colonel's International, Peck is an attorney for the business
At about 6 a.m. Tuesday, Peck, using his cell phone, called the Iron County Sheriff's Department in Hurley, Wis., and helped direct rescue efforts.
"We were very lucky. The dispatcher did a great job keeping the survivor on the phone and trying to gather information about their possible whereabouts," said Iron County (Wis.) Sheriff Robert Bruneau. "(Peck) was able to tell the dispatcher
Peck also called his wife to tell her that he and Singleterry were alive.
Chase Osborn, 60, Fort Lauderdale, Fla., and Brian Champagne, 53, Richmond, Mich., were killed when the twin-engine Saberliner plane they were piloting from Brainerd to Flint, Mich., was apparently struck by lightning, knocking out the plane's electronics.
The Gogebic County Sheriff's Department was notified by Minneapolis Center at 6:20 p.m. Monday that the plane was declaring an emergency about 15 miles from Gogebic-Ironwood County Airport in Ironwood, Mich.
Gogebic Sheriff Donald Pezzetti said the crash site and victims were first spotted at 8:30 a.m. Tuesday from the air by Life Flight Helicopter out of Duluth near the Copper Peak Ski Flying Hill off Black River Road in Ironwood (Mich.) Township.
Singleterry and Peck were rescued by a U.S. Coast Guard helicopter and transported to an area hospital. The extent of their injuries is not yet known.
The Federal Aviation Administration and the National Transportation Safety Board are investigating the crash.
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