Man presumed dead after airplane lands in Lake Michigan
Sulphur Springs pilot who was passenger on flight survives
Kerry Craig | News-Telegram Assistant Editor

Aug. 1, 2006 -- A Sulphur Springs pilot was back home Tuesday following a harrowing experience Sunday on Lake Michigan when the airplane he was a passenger in reportedly experienced engine problems and went down in the lake.

Danny Goggans, 49, a commercial pilot and an associate of Legend Airplane Company of Sulphur Springs, had left the Experimental Aircraft Association's annual fly-in at Oshkosh, Wis., with the owner of the new Legend Cub enroute to Chicago when the accident occurred.

The Chicago Tribune, in its Tuesday morning edition, said a second day of searching for the pilot of the light sport airplane was unsuccessful and said the unidentified man apparently drowned while waiting to be rescued.

The newspaper report said the men contacted Gary Chicago International Airport by radio about 4:20 p.m. Sunday, saying they were having engine trouble. Within 10 minutes, the plane made an emergency landing about four miles off the Chicago coast.

A Chicago Fire Department spokesman told the Tribune that Goggans told authorities the landing was "excellent for a water landing."

A source at Sulphur Springs Airport who declined to be identified said the airplane landed intact and that both occupants were able to get out of the airplane.

The two men were sitting on the floating airplane when it began to sink and the pilot was briefly pulled under the water.

The Tribune quoted Chicago Fire Department spokesman Larry Langford as saying that when the passenger [Goggans] brought the other man back to the surface, their flotation device would not support both of them.

"In a panic, the pilot lost the flotation device, which the passenger swam to retrieve," Langford said. "When he returned, the pilot was underwater."

Langford said rescuers did not expect to find the 60-year-old alive and that he believes rescuers would have spotted the pilot if he was still floating or swimming. 

After being rescued, Goggans was taken to a Chicago hospital where he was treated and released. He was flown back to Sulphur Springs late Monday.

The unidentified pilot had visited the Legend Airplane Company manufacturing plant in Sulphur Springs earlier this year to purchase a Legend Cub and took delivery of the airplane at the Oshkosh air show.

Legend Airplane Company spokesmen declined any comment on the accident, but said the National Transportation Safety Board was investigating the crash.

Legend Airplane Company was established at Sulphur Springs Airport shortly after the Federal Aviation Administration created a new category for light sport airplanes in 2004. 

The Legend Cub is a two-place airplane powered by the proven Teledyne-Continental 100-horsepower engine. The company has delivered more than 50 new airplanes.

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