Hiles airplane crash victims identified
Star Journal Report
The Forest County medical examiner has identified the victims of the Sept. 28 plane crash in the town of Hiles. According to Crystal Schaub, the victims are Joseph Johnson, 28 of Florida, Mike Dickens, 28 of Missouri and Dominik Faciano, 23 of Missouri.
According to a preliminary report by the National transportation Safety Board, the three were in a Rockwell International 690B airplane, taking aerial imagery of the forest vegetation for the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources.
The airplane left the Rhinelander-Oneida County Airport approximately 8:50 a.m. Sept. 28. Automatic dependent surveillance-broadcast information (ADS-B) revealed that at 8:58 a.m. the airplane began to level off at about 15,600 feet with a maximum groundspeed of 209 knots. Between 8:58 and 9 a.m. the airplane continued level flight, but the speed decreased to about 93 knots.
According to air traffic control, a “mayday, mayday, mayday…we’re in a spin” transmission was broadcast. It was not under air traffic control during the flight or at the time of the accident.
A witness reported hearing a “loud, strange sounding airplane” that he noticed was “nose down at high rate of speed spinning about its longitudinal axis at about 30 to 60 rpm.”
The witness lost sight of the airplane behind some trees and then heard an impact. The airplane wreckage was located during an aerial and ground search in wetlands and wooded terrain about 10 miles east of Eagle River and a mile west of Butternut Lake, in the Chequamegon-Nicolet National Forest.
The wreckage was distributed in a diameter of about 50 yards. A majority of the main wreckage was found beneath the water surface with some debris located in the trees. The airplane wreckage was recovered for further examination.
The National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB), Federal Aviation Administration (FAA), Forest County Sheriff’s Department and the Forest County Medical Examiner’s Office are investigating the cause of the crash.