Friday, September 7, 2018

Piper PA-32RT-300T, N500MJ: Fatal accident occurred August 31, 2018 near Mackinac County Airport (83D), St. Ignace, Michigan

The National Transportation Safety Board traveled to the scene of this accident.

Additional Participating Entities:
Federal Aviation Administration / Flight Standards District Office; Grand Rapids, Michigan
Lycoming Engines; Williamsport, Pennsylvania
Piper Aircraft; Wichita, Kansas

Aviation Accident Preliminary Report - National Transportation Safety Board: https://app.ntsb.gov/pdf

https://registry.faa.gov/N500MJ

Location: St Ignace, MI
Accident Number: CEN18FA368
Date & Time: 08/31/2018, 2145 EDT
Registration: N500MJ
Aircraft: Piper PA32RT
Injuries: 1 Fatal
Flight Conducted Under: Part 91: General Aviation - Personal 

On August 31, 2018, about 2145 eastern daylight time, a Piper PA32RT-300T, N500MJ, registered to the pilot, was destroyed when it impacted the water (Lake Huron) shortly after takeoff from the Mackinac County Municipal Airport (83D), St Ignace, Michigan. The private pilot, who was the sole occupant, has not been found during search activities and is presumed fatal. Dark night visual meteorological conditions prevailed in the area and a flight plan was not filed. The personal flight was being conducted under the provisions of Federal Code of Regulations Part 91. The flight was originating from 83D and its planned destination was Mackinac Island (MCD).

According to the airport manager, the pilot had landed at Mackinac Island (MCD) about 1900 to drop off 4 passengers. Statements from those passengers indicated that the flight was normal did not indicate that anything was wrong with the airplane. The pilot then flew (about a 7-minute flight) from MCD to 83D to refuel and go out to eat dinner. The pilot fueled the airplane with 35 gallons of 100LL before he departed for dinner. The pilot returned to 83D after dinner about 2130. The airport manager heard the pilot call for takeoff on the local UNICOM frequency and witnessed the airplane take off from runway 7. The manager stated that the airplane looked and sounded normal. The manager did not witness the accident but did receive a 911 call about 5 minutes after the airplane departed. He confirmed that the airplane had not landed at its intended destination (MCD), and search and recue operations started. The airport manager stated that it was a very dark night, there were no stars or moonlight, and that the horizon was not distinguishable. Several witnesses (who were located near the departure end of runway 7) reported that they saw the lights of the airplane when it took off and that the airplane appeared to be about 200-300 feet and turning. They stated that the they heard the airplane crash into the water.

There were no distress radio calls from the pilot. First responders to the accident site (about 15-20 minutes after the accident) reported that it was a very dark night and that there was no visible horizon.

The airplane wreckage was located in 44-feet of water about 1-mile from the departure end of runway 7. Divers from the Michigan State Police (MSP) recovered the wreckage and it was transported to a secure facility at 83D for examination by the NTSB. The airframe, engine, and propeller were examined on August 5-6. Preliminary observations did not reveal any mechanical anomalies. The airframe was severely damaged, and deformations were consistent with a slightly right wing down, nose low, high speed impact with the water. Bending signatures on the propeller blades and impact marks on the pitch change stops were consistent with the propeller rotating at the time of impact. As of the date of this preliminary report, the pilot's body has not been recovered from Lake Huron and MSP divers are continuing the search. 

Aircraft and Owner/Operator Information

Aircraft Make: Piper
Registration: N500MJ
Model/Series: PA32RT 300T
Aircraft Category: Airplane
Amateur Built: No
Operator: On file
Operating Certificate(s) Held: None

Meteorological Information and Flight Plan

Conditions at Accident Site: Visual Conditions
Condition of Light: Night/Dark
Observation Facility, Elevation: MCD, 768 ft msl
Observation Time: 2135 EDT
Distance from Accident Site: 6 Nautical Miles
Temperature/Dew Point: 22°C / 13°C
Lowest Cloud Condition: Clear
Wind Speed/Gusts, Direction: 8 knots / , 160°
Lowest Ceiling: None
Visibility:  10 Miles
Altimeter Setting: 30.03 inches Hg
Type of Flight Plan Filed: None
Departure Point: St Ignace, MI (83D)
Destination:  Burlington, WI (BUU)

Wreckage and Impact Information

Crew Injuries: 1 Fatal
Aircraft Damage: Destroyed
Passenger Injuries: N/A
Aircraft Fire: None
Ground Injuries: N/A
Aircraft Explosion: None
Total Injuries: 1 Fatal
Latitude, Longitude:  45.902500, -84.706944 (est)

Those who may have information that might be relevant to the National Transportation Safety Board investigation may contact them by email eyewitnessreport@ntsb.gov, and any friends and family who want to contact investigators about the accident should email assistance@ntsb.gov.


 Ronald Steven Dague

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 last Friday night. Ron was a valued member of our General Crimes Unit and served with distinction in 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. 

Ronald Dague

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. 

Original article can be found here ➤ https://www.upmatters.com





MACKINAC COUNTY -- A Wisconsin pilot, who was an assistant district attorney in Milwaukee, crashed a plane into a Michigan lake on Friday, Aug. 31 -- and lost his life.

Officials with the Milwaukee County District Attorney's Office identified him as Ronald Dague, 64. Mackinac County sheriff's officials said he was from East Troy.

Below is a statement from John Chisholm -- Milwaukee County district attorney:

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

On behalf of the District Attorney’s Office and all 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 the law, and a passionate defender of equity, fairness, and justice.  His advocacy helped build a safer 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 an 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."

Dague was Milwaukee County's most experienced drunk driving prosecutor.

"The most complicated area of law and science that I've handled in my 23-year career," said Dague.

In 2013, he talked with the FOX6 Investigators about the failure to enforce ignition interlock devices.

"We have yet to be able to successfully prosecute even one case in Milwaukee County. So none," said Dague.

According to the Mackinac County Sheriff's Office, shortly after 9:45 p.m., the plane crashed in Lake Huron -- that's in Michigan's Upper Peninsula.

We're told the plane took off from the Mackinac County Airport shortly before and was heading to Mackinac Island.

Residents reported seeing the plane flying low and then they heard the impact.

Dague was the only one on board at the time.

A search was conducted over the weekend, involving the sheriff's office, U.S. Coast Guard and Michigan State Police. A police dive team was using sonar equipment in the search.

Sheriff's officials said the engine and main cabin of the plane were located Sunday. The pilot wasn't inside. Officials said recovery efforts continue for the pilot's remains and other debris.

The FAA and NTSB are investigating.

Story and video ➤ https://fox6now.com

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