WILBER TWP. – Authorities say a pilot of a Kalitta Air Beechcraft Air King commuter aircraft was the lone victim after the aircraft crashed into the Huron-Manistee National Forest in Wilber Township Sept. 25.
The identity of the pilot, whose remains were located in the wreckage, has not been positively identified, according to troopers from the West Branch Michigan State Police (MSP) post. Nonetheless, officials believe the pilot to be a 33-year-old male from Orlando, Fla.
Officials began an investigation of a possible air crash after notification of a potential missing aircraft from the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) earlier that morning.
The aircraft, a 10-passenger turbo-prop plane, was en route to the Oscoda-Wurtsmith Airport from Ypsilanti to take a charter of passengers from Oscoda to Memphis, Tenn., and activated runway lights at the airport, but never landed. Lights at the airport can be activated by pilots via cockpit radios at the airport.
FAA officials notified Iosco County Central Dispatch at 7:30 a.m. in reference to the overdue plane.
According to the MSP, the plane was last observed on radar southwest of the airport at a rapid descent. Troopers, along with members of the Oscoda Township Police Department (OTPD), Iosco County Sheriff’s Office and Oscoda Township Fire Department searched and the Iosco County Sheriff’s Office searched the area, which was west of Wells Road in Wilber Township.
OTPD Chief Mark David found the wrecked aircraft at approximately 10:27am.
The wreck was located about a mile off Wells Road, and about a 100 yards off a fire road off the roadway in a heavily forested area.
Troopers were further assisted at the crash scene by the Michigan Department of Natural Resources, as well as the U.S. Forest Service, who were on standby with a bulldozers as a precaution.
After the wreck was located by local authorities, FAA investigators arrived at the scene, where they identified human remains in the burnt wreckage. No cause of a crash has yet to be determined by FAA officials, who are investigating the crash with the National Transportation Safety Board.
FAA Public Affairs Spokeswoman Elizabeth Isham Cory said the investigation will take several months to a year to complete, but said updates will be posted at www.ntsb.gov, with a new update coming within the week.
She said all information is preliminary and subject to change as the investigation continues.