Pilot Survives River Crash in Kankakee

Local men rescued victim who went to hospital in fair condition

By Kristin Nehls
|  Monday, Aug 3, 2009  |  Updated 1:53 PM CDT
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Pilot Survives River Crash in Kankakee

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A small plane similar to this glider crashed in the Kankakee river.

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The pilot of a small body plane ended up all wet, after he crashed his plane in the Kankakee river.

Derek Mullady, owner of the Islan View Marina in Kankakee, and four friends said they saw the plane flying above the river at about 7 p.m. before it hit a utility pole and dropped into the river.

"He had to be doing 40 or 50 miles per hour," Mullady told the Chicago Tribune "He was buzz-bombing the water, just got too low and didn't know the [utility] lines were there," Mullady said.

The pilot, a man who appeared to be in his 40s, was underwater for about six minutes before he was cut out of the cockpit, Mullady said. Mullady and his four friends rode a boat to the overturned plane. After dragging it to shallower water, they flipped the plane over and cut the victim out of the cockpit.

"We cut him loose and...he coughed up blood and started breathing," Mullady said.

The private, ultra light aircraft crashed around 8 p.m. Sunday near the Kankakee River, the Federal Aviation Administration told the Chicago Sun Times.

The injured pilot was the only person on the plane. He was taken to an area hospital and was listed in fair condition, Kankakee County Sheriff's police spokesman Tim McCabe said.

Before the crash, the plane took off from Greater Kankakee Airport at 813 A E. 4000S Rd., the FAA said.

The FAA and local authorities said no further deatils are available, but they are investigating the incident.

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