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Recovery operation will begin Monday morning after small plane crash in Lake Superior off Duluth

A St. Louis County Rescue Squad boat motors through the fog over Lake Superior at Brighton Beach in Duluth while searching for the wreckage of a small plane that apparently crashed into the lake about a mile off the beach Saturday morning, June 7, 2014. (Clint Austin /

Divers plan to head out onto Lake Superior from the mouth of the Lester River on Monday morning to investigate the apparent wreckage of a small plane that crashed into the water Saturday, and recover a body believed to be that of the pilot.

A single-engine, kit-built Lancair IV, apparently carrying a single occupant and bound from Duluth to Goose Bay, Labrador, in far eastern Canada, vanished from radar late Saturday morning soon after taking off from the Duluth International Airport. Emergency responders initially found debris on the lake surface about 1.2 miles offshore from Duluth’s 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 depth of the wreckage requires specialized diving skills, and authorities contacted a local commercial diver who returned to Duluth from a job in North Dakota.

Capt. Tom Crossmon of the St. Louis County Rescue Squad reported Sunday that the diver, along with personnel from the Rescue Squad and the Superior/Douglas County Dive Rescue Team, will be out on the water Monday morning.

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.


Crews looking for missing plane find debris, body in Lake Superior off Duluth