Tuesday, May 19, 2020

Cessna 172M Skyhawk, N92036: Accident occurred May 15, 2020 in Colchester, McDonough County, Illinois

Federal Aviation Administration / Flight Standards District Office; Springfield, Illinois


NTSB Identification: CEN20CA181
14 CFR Part 91: General Aviation
Accident occurred Friday, May 15, 2020 in Colchester, IL
Aircraft: Cessna 172, registration: N92036

NTSB investigators will use data provided by various entities, including, but not limited to, the Federal Aviation Administration and/or the operator, and will not travel in support of this investigation to prepare this aircraft accident report.

Aircraft crashed into trees in the Argyle Lake State Park.

Date: 15-MAY-20
Time: 21:30:00Z
Regis#: N92036
Aircraft Make: CESSNA
Aircraft Model: 172
Event Type: ACCIDENT
Highest Injury: MINOR
Aircraft Missing: No
Activity: PERSONAL
Flight Phase: UNKNOWN (UNK)
Operation: 91

COLCHESTER — Around 4:30 p.m. on Friday, May 15th, 75-year-old James Nixon made an emergency crash landing at Argyle Lake State Park after his Cessna 172M Skyhawk ran out of fuel.

The pilot sustained minor injuries after the plane became stuck in the treetops roughly a mile from the nearest roadway, according to a press release from McDonough County Sheriff Nick Petitgout.

Nixon, from Dallas City, Illinois, placed a call to emergency services at 4:30 p.m., at which point agencies from all across the county converged on the park. Entrances were blocked by 5 p.m., and firetrucks were seen relocating to a rendezvous point at the northernmost edge of the park along North 1300th Road around 5:30 p.m.

An AirEvac helicopter with Lifeteam 144 was spotted flying over the park for more than half an hour, reportedly attempting a rope rescue, according to a Facebook post from the Illinois Central Fire Society. Petitgout said Nixon was eventually rescued from the tree and treated for minor injuries.

Involved in the rescue were members of the Colchester Fire Department, McDonough County Sheriff’s Department, Illinois State Police, Illinois Conservation Police, Emmet Chalmers Fire Protection District, and the Blandinsville Fire Department.



  1. Sometimes you luck out and the bendy treetops do the catching and holding without a branch hitting anyone inside the cabin. Much better than a spin into dirt.

  2. I guess it's true ... better to be lucky at flying than be good at flying.