Michigan Man Crashes Seaplane Into Lake, Rescued By Priest

By: 
Contributor

A Michigan pilot was rescued after flipping his floatplane in Cedar Lake early last week. Up North Live reports that 59-year-old Kevin Malone was flying his small plane when he suddenly lost control during the water landing. He ultimately flipped the plane. 

"The wheels were down when we landed," Malone, who was alone in the plane, said in a statement to Up North Live. "We'll have to figure out why that happened later. When that happens in a sea plane, it goes end over end and it winds up upside down."

With over 19,000 airports, heliports, seaplane bases, and other landing facilities operating in the United States and territories, pilots are usually able to communicate with air traffic professionals to warn them of any mechanical issues. For sudden problems with recreational planes, this is often not possible.

Fortunately, Malone was not alone on the lake. In fact, you could even say he was blessed.

Prior to the arrival of emergency crews, Father Christopher Jarvis and his dad rescued Malone from his floating plane. Having noticed him stranded in the lake, the pair went to retrieve him in a rowboat. Jarvis credited his faith for the rescue.

"You know it's kind of like divine providence, because to be honest with you, I was going to be heading downstate today and I shouldn't even have been here," Jarvis said. "We started to talk for a little while and it delayed us enough time but providence of God that that happened and we were still here."

Noel Flohe, local resident and witness to the incident, said in a statement to Record Eagle that he saw Malone's plane flying toward the water while he was driving. Once he saw that the plane was in the water, he called emergency services.

"I thought, that’s the [plane] that usually comes down on Cedar Lake," Flohe said. "As I turned to get on Cherry Bend Road, he was coming down pretty steep...When I got around the corner, he was already in the water with his pontoons up on its nose. I hit 911 because I know that water is cold."

Depending on their purpose, planes fly at various altitudes and make different types of landings. Commercial jets, for example, fly at 35,000 feet and smaller, private jets fly higher to avoid air traffic. While those models make traditional landings, floatplanes takeoff and land on water. This introduces a new set of potential problems. While Malone believes that his crash was caused by the plane's wheels, Up North Live reports that the Federal Aviation Administration is investigating the crash to determine the exact cause.

Record Eagle reports that Malone's condition improved once he was in the ambulance. Leelanau County Sheriff Michael Borkovich said in a statement that while the pilot was "very cold," he is expected to make a full recovery.

For full story, pick up a copy of the MONTH XX issue of The Allegan County News/The Union Enterprise/The Commercial Record or subscribe to the e-edition.

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