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Divers working to retrieve body of pilot after plane crash off Brighton Beach

Rescue team members and divers headed out this morning to the site of Saturday’s plane crash on Lake Superior.

Capt. Tom Crossmon of the St. Louis County Rescue Squad said wreckage of the small plane contains the body of the pilot. He said there were two distinct debris piles, but the plane appeared to be broken into small pieces from video footage taken Saturday.

The three boats that went out just after 11 a.m. today carried two commercial divers trained to go to the depth where the plane went in, about 137 feet. The trio of boats hovered over the debris about 1.2 miles off Brighton Beach.

The Superior/Douglas County Dive Rescue team joined members of the St. Louis County teams, which included the water operations, rescue and mobile command.

Crews planned to use airbags to bring the debris to the surface. The boats would then pull the pieces atop the bags to the staging area at McQuade Harbor up the North Shore.

A single-engine, kit-built Lancair IV, apparently carrying just the pilot, was bound from Duluth to Goose Bay, Labrador, in far eastern Canada. It vanished from radar late Saturday morning soon after taking off from Duluth International Airport. Emergency responders initially found debris on the lake surface offshore from Brighton Beach. Later searches using side-scan sonar and a remotely operated vehicle found wreckage and a body at a depth of 137 feet.

The search was hampered by thick fog most of the early afternoon.

The flight-tracking website reported that the plane that went missing had left Bend, Ore., on Friday, and traveled to Duluth.

The identity of the pilot has not yet been released.

Doug Meyer, director of sales and marketing for Oregon-based Lancair, told the News Tribune on Saturday that the company is aware of the plane and the man who piloted it when it left Bend on Friday; Meyer said the man may have been headed to Germany but did not have further details on his identity.

The plane is registered to A.O. Engineering of Wilmington, Del., according to Federal Aviation Administration records.