Courtesy Jason St.Onge
A single engine airplane en route to Mackinac Island was forced to make an emergency landing on Lake Huron one mile off shore.
Troopers from the St. Ignace Post of the Michigan State Police say the 29-year-old pilot of the Piper plane reported that he was able to restart the engine after it initially quit, but it did so again shortly after. Not wishing to take further chances, the pilot proceeded to touch down safely on the ice, one and a half miles north of British Landing. One passenger stated the pilot did a fantastic job and the landing was softer than on a runway.
An initial investigation determined the plane was carrying six passengers in addition to the pilot, all of whom landed safely without injury. The Mackinac Island Fire and Police Departments assisted U.S. Coast Guard Sector Sault Ste Marie personnel alongside citizens on snowmobiles as they rescued all six passengers and the pilot with temperatures well below zero.
No injuries or pollution from the oil and debris have been reported.
The commercial plane reportedly belongs to Great Lakes Air Incorporated. The company has made plans to tow the plane off the ice where it will be examined to determine the cause of the engine failure.
The National Transportation Safety Board and the Federal Aviation Administration were both notified of the incident and will follow up with their own investigations.
The U.S. Coast Guard will continue to monitor the situation for potential pollution.
The St. Ignace Post of the Michigan State Police is investigating the incident.