July 3 (UPI) — Six people died when a small plane traveling from the Chicago area to Canada crashed near Phillips, Wis., investigators said.
All the fatalities were adults. Although they were not identified by Price County authorities, a Facebook post by the Tioga Elementary School in Bensenville, Ill., said they included Thomas DeMauro, a physical education teacher at the school, and Charles Tomlitz, a school district maintenance director.
The Cessna 421 crashed early Saturday after the county sheriff’s office received a call from the Air Marine Operations Center saying the plane quickly lost altitude and radio contact. The National Transportation Safetry Board said the pilot and air traffic controllers discussed a “local weather phenomenon” prior to the plane’s disappearance from radar screens.
Wreckage from the plane was spread across a wide area, and some was found on State Highway 111 and U.S. Highway 8. Several police and fire departments were involved in the search, as well as members the community. Price County Sheriff Brian Schmidt said a privately owned helicopter was instrumental in the search for debris.
“We’re fortunate to have someone with a helicopter, and we were able to locate the compartment of a fuselage and the passenger compartment of an airplane,” Schmidt said.