Seaplane collides with boats on Upper Straits Lake

By: Kayla Dimick | West Bloomfield Beacon | Published August 22, 2019

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ORCHARD LAKE — Officials from several law enforcement agencies are investigating a recent plane crash.

According to a news release from Oakland County Undersheriff Michael McCabe, at around 4:55 p.m. Aug. 17, deputies from the OCSO Marine Unit, officers from the West Bloomfield Township Police and Fire departments, and officers from the Orchard Lake Police Department responded to Upper Straits Lake in Orchard Lake on a report of a seaplane that had crashed into three pontoon boats.

Police said that following the crash, the seaplane came to a rest in the lake. Initially, numerous people reportedly were injured and several subjects were missing.

McCabe said in the release that due to the severity of the initial reports, the sheriff’s dive team was activated. However, prior to the dive team’s arrival, McCabe said, all parties were accounted for — no one was missing.

“The Oakland County Dive Team was canceled. However, a few dive team members continued to assist with recovery of the plane,” McCabe said in the release.

The Federal Aviation Administration also was contacted, McCabe said, and responded to the scene.

A preliminary investigation revealed that the pilot of the seaplane, a 41-year-old Redford Township man, had tried to land the vessel on the lake, but he miscalculated the landing and struck three pontoon boats before hitting the sand bar, according to the news release.

McCabe said in the release that numerous people who were in the water and on the pontoon boats received minor injuries and left prior to the Marine Unit’s arrival. Several people also refused medical treatment by paramedics from the West Bloomfield Township Fire Department and reportedly transported themselves to a local hospital.

The pilot of the seaplane suffered minor injuries to his leg, and the passenger, a 29-year-old woman from Rochester Hills, was not injured.

When the FAA arrived on the scene, it requested that the plane be impounded for inspection, and it was removed from the lake by Byers Towing before being transported to the Oakland County Sheriff’s Office Marine Unit boat yard.

The FAA will be conducting its own independent investigation, McCabe said in the release.

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