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Medical Plane Wreckage Found

LUDINGTON, Mich. - Underwater searchers using sonar found the wreckage of a small medical plane that crashed into Lake Michigan a week ago, officials said Friday.

Four people remained missing, but Mason County Emergency Management Coordinator Liz Reimink said in a statement "there is a possibility of victims within the area of the wreckage."

The plane encountered mechanical problems and plunged into Lake Michigan off the coast of Ludington in western Michigan on July 23 while flying a cancer patient to the Mayo Clinic.

The pilot, 66-year-old Jerry Freed of Alma, was rescued the same day, but rescuers gave up hope of finding any other survivors after combing the area for 27 hours.

A hunt for the aircraft and the victims' bodies continued through the week, occasionally hampered by strong winds and rough waters. Officials made a breakthrough Thursday evening, Reimink said in the statement.

Calls to Reimink for additional information were not answered Friday morning.

Also on board the doomed aircraft were co-pilot Earl Davidson, Alma school superintendent Don Pavlik, his wife Irene, and Dr. James Hall. All were residents of Alma, a central Michigan town 150 miles northwest of Detroit.

The plane took off from Alma about 9 a.m. July 23. Less than an hour later, Freed reported mechanical problems to the air traffic control tower in Minneapolis, said the Federal Aviation Administration, which was investigating the crash.



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