Charlevoix Pilot Saw Hatch Family Plane Crash, Gives Perspective

Investigators are still trying to figure out what caused last week's deadly Charlevoix plane crash, but one airport pilot saw the whole thing happen. Ken Slough is Chief Pilot for Island Airways, flying planes to and from Beaver Island. He said the weather was already causing trouble last Friday. “There were a couple times during that day even after we started flying where we had to ground the planes, stop flying and wait for the weather to get better,” Slough said. Slough was done flying for the day and he was working on paperwork in the terminal when he saw the plane getting ready to land. “About half way down the runway the pilot tried to descend below the cloud layer of the ceiling and land the airplane but as it approached the pit, the left side of the airport, I think it realized it ran out of runway, the pilot realized it ran out of runway, and tried to make 180 degree turn toward the water town on the left side and come back to the runway,” he said. That's when Slough said the plane looped back around and tried to land from the other direction. “The pilot look like he tried to pitch up heavily and increase throttle at which point threw the aircraft into an aerodynamic stall and caused it to roll hard to the left and hit the garage where it landed,” he said. Slough said he had never seen a plane crash until that Friday night. “He was popping in and out of the clouds so I can’t tell you what he saw from his perspective, but from my perspective he was popping in and out of the clouds and having not landed the airplane on that first attempt coming in I’m assuming he didn’t see anything,” he said. Jennifer Profitt and Photojournalist Justin DePrekel sat down with Slough, they have the story.