UPDATE: Pilot identified in Mackinac Co. plane crash

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UPDATE– After responding to a reported plane crash on Friday evening, Mackinac County Sheriff’s Deputies, the US Coast Guard and the Michigan State Police dive team continued searching through the weekend with deputies also searching the shore line near the area. Additional debris has been found during the search. MSP dive team is investigating areas of interest with side scan sonar and other specialized equipment.

On Sunday, divers located the engine and main cabin compartment of the plane and it was taken to a secure location for investigators to view. The pilot was not in the aircraft. Recovery efforts continue for the missing pilot’s remains and to look for other critical debris. The FAA and NTSB are also investigating this crash.

The pilot has been identified as 64-year-old Ronald Steven Dague of East Troy, WI. 

Dague’s employer released the following statement:

“Tragically, we learned that our colleague Assistant District Attorney Ronald S. Dague lost his life in an airplane accident las Friday night. Ron was a valued member of our General Crimes Unit and served with distinction ini many capacities in the District Attorney’s Office since 1992. 

On behalf of the District Attorney’s Office and all of our colleagues in the criminal justice system, I extend my deepest condolences to Ron’s family and friends at this difficult time. Ron was a gifted trial attorney, a devoted student of law and a passionate defender of equity, fairness and justice. His advocacy helped build a safe community for everyone living in Milwaukee County.

At a personal level, Ron was a devoted husband and father who deeply loved his family and his absence will be keenly felt. Please keep his wife and young daughter in your prayers. It was and honor to serve the public alongside Ron, and I wish his family peace at this most difficult and challenging time. I appreciate the professionalism and courtesy extended to the office and Ron’s family by the Mackinac County Sheriff’s Office and the United States Coast Guard. The family has asked that their privacy be respected as they mourn their loss.”

– John T. Chisholm, Milwaukee County District Attorney 

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ST. IGNACE– Deputies were called to a possible plane crash near the Mackinac County Airport in St. Ignace around 10:00 p.m. Friday. Residents near the airport reported seeing a plane possibly go into the water in Horseshoe Bay of lake Huron. This area is just east of the airport between St. Ignace and Mackinac Island.  

Upon arrival, deputies found that a plane piloted by a Wisconsin man had just taken off from the St. Ignace airport in route to Mackinac Island. The pilot was the only person aboard the aircraft at the time.

Residents report that the plane was flying low and banked to the side and then they heard the impact. Deputies, US Coast Guard and Mackinac Marine responded by boat to the area and shortly thereafter began finding debris in the water. Search efforts throughout the night included those agencies and deputies were assisted by St. Ignace police and fire departments, Michigan State Police and a USCH helicopter. The Federal Aviation Administration and National Transportation Safety Board were also contacted about this incident and have joined the investigation.

Searching continued through Saturday morning with deputies also searching the shoreline of the area. Additional debris was found on that search. 

The MSP Dive Team is investigating areas of interest found with side scan sonar and other specialized equipment.

The pilot’s name is not being released at this time.  

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