Subject To Change
Depth: 15 km
Distances: 2208 km NE of Sapporo-shi, Japan / pop: 1,883,027 / local time: 05:58:30.0 2014-04-19
422 km SE of Palana, Russia / pop: 3,671 / local time: 08:58:30.0 2014-04-19
345 km S of Ossora, Russia / pop: 2,420 / local time: 08:58:30.0 2014-04-19
A burned-out wreck is all that remains of a single-engine biplane after a fiery crash on Interstate 89 northbound in Highgate. Police say shortly after noon Friday, they got the call that a plane crash-landed and burst into flames. They say it’s lucky no cars were hit.
“Fortunately it didn’t land in the travel lane, it stayed off to the side,” Vt. State Police Lt. Garry Scott said.
Police say before the plane crashed, someone parachuted out.
“Something happened to the plane; he knew something was wrong,” Scott said.
That someone was the pilot– Dan Marcotte. He landed in a tree on the other side of the road a ways away and the Highgate fire department had to rescue him.
“He was very upset, emotionally upset, but no real significant injuries right now. He was able to walk, came back to the scene and spoke with investigators,” Scott said.
Many Vermonters are likely familiar with Marcotte from the many airshows he has performed in around our region. And this was not Marcotte’s first near-miss on I-89. Six years ago he made an emergency landing on the highway– again after experiencing engine trouble.
Marcotte’s longtime girlfriend, Sarah Jo Willey, told WCAX News he was practicing an aerobatic routine just before the crash. She says his parachute worked properly and she’s relieved that he’s safe. “Dan is okay. Thank GOD!!!! He used his parachute…and it worked just fine,” Willey told us.
Police say Marcotte is lucky to have made it out of that fiery crash alive.
“He’s lucky that he got out, as you can see. That’s a pretty significant crash,” Scott said. “He didn’t hit any traffic coming northbound. These high speeds, we’re pretty lucky that no one else was injured and he’s able to essentially walk away from this.”
The FAA is investigating this crash to figure out what went wrong. That could determine if any charges will be filed.
Northbound traffic on I-89 was stopped at Exit 21 in Swanton all the way to the Canadian border for nearly an hour after the crash, before one lane reopened. The second lane remained closed until about 3 p.m. as crews work to remove the burned-out wreckage from the highway.
The plane went down in a pond on 170th Rd., about a half-mile west of Indigo, and two miles south of Hillsboro, around 1:45 p.m. Friday.
Troopers with the Kansas Highway Patrol said the plane was an ultralight aircraft. Investigators said the pilot ran into a tree branch, then fell to the ground near a pond and flipped upside down into the water.The pilot was unconscious when emergency crews arrived at the scene. He was taken to a nearby hospital where he later died from his injuries, troopers said.
The pilot has been identified as Donald Dahl, 69, of Hillsboro, according to the Kansas Highway Patrol. Dahl was a former Kansas state representative, who served the 70th district from 1996 until 2008. The Republican leader was speaker pro tem in 2007 and 2008.
Gov. Sam Brownback appointed Dahl to the Kansas Supreme Court Nominating Commission in December.
Brownback said he was saddened to hear of Dahl’s passing.
“He had a proud legacy of public service,” Brownback said in a statement. “A veteran of the U.S. Navy, he served the people of Kansas as a representative for six terms. The Lt. Governor and I extend our personal sympathy to his family and friends.”
The Federal Aviation Administration has been called to help investigate the cause of the crash.
More firefighters are battling a blaze burning in the Huachuca Mountains in southeastern Arizona.
Fire managers say aerial mapping now puts the Brown Fire at 240 acres, down from the previous estimate of 366 acres. Crews are clearing lines on the fire’s flanks but there is zero containment so far.
More than 400 people are now assigned to the fire, including 10 ground crews, several engines and numerous helicopters. Air tankers also are available.
Fire managers say no structures are currently threatened but residents of canyon areas have been told to be ready to evacuate.
The fire started April 13 and is burning in brush and timber in steep and rugged terrain in the Coronado National Forest.
The fire is approximately five miles southwest of Sierra Vista.