A plane carrying six people crashed in Wisconsin while the pilots were having a discussion about a “local weather phenomenon,” authorities said. All of the passengers onboard died.
Investigators are still trying to piece together how the private plane, a Cessna 421, fell from the sky.
A spokesman for the Price County Sheriff’s Office, Lt. Gabe Lind, said the agency was called at 3:21 a.m. on Saturday when the Air Marine Operations Center “lost contact with an aircraft in the area,” according to the Chicago Tribune.
“It had dropped in altitude and they lost radio contact,” he said.
There were no other details on what type of “weather phenomenon” the plane encountered.
The pilot was certified to fly the plane and all the victims were adults. Although names of the victims have not been released, among the six were two men employed by Tioga Elementary School in Bensenville, Illinois.
The school posted on Facebook that it lost two of its employees in the crash. The post named Thomas DeMauro, a physical education teacher, and Charles (Chuck) Tomlitz, the maintenance director for the district. The school’s co-principals wrote “Mr. DeMauro and Mr. Tomlitz will be missed by all the Tioga community.”
Lind said “there were a lot of people who volunteered to help with the search and rescue” operation.
Sandy Jensen, owner of Happy Daze bar and restaurant, which is located near where the crash occurred in Phillips, said she offered to help after the plane went missing. Jensen told WSAW she “made up 35 burgers, cheeseburgers, and fresh cheese curds” to send over to local law enforcement and first responders, along with “some parade candy, because it’s the Fourth of July.
Jensen described it as “just what people should do.” She said the community was tight-knit.
"That's what the world's all about is people helping people. When people have hard times, we've been in hard times and our community has helped us, and it's just the right thing to do."
The National Transportation Safety Board, the Federal Aviation Administration and the Sheriff’s Office are investigating the crash.