Divers recover remains of 2 plane crash victims from waters of Lake Michigan; 2 still missing

State police divers on Friday recovered the remains of two of four missing passengers who were on a medical plane that crashed into Lake Michigan last week.

The bodies belonged to Alma school superintendent Don Pavlik and his wife Irene, Mason County Undersheriff Tom Trenner told The Associated Press on Friday night.

Trenner said he couldn't confirm the causes of death, but county medical examiner Dr. Marc Keen told the Ludington Daily News they drowned. Keen didn't immediately respond to a phone message left after hours Friday at his office.

Two others on the July 23 flight remain missing and are believed dead — co-pilot Earl Davidson and Dr. James Hall. The pilot, 66-year-old Jerry Freed of Alma, was rescued the same day, but crews gave up hope of finding any other survivors after searching the area for 27 hours.

The search continued Friday night for the missing, Trenner said.

Underwater searchers using sonar found the plane's wreckage Thursday evening 3 to 4 miles from shore between Big Sable Point and Ludington harbor in western Michigan. The plane was resting on the bottom of the lake, about 180 feet under water.

The Cessna 206 encountered mechanical problems and plunged into the lake while flying a cancer patient Don Pavlik to the Mayo Clinic in Rochester, Minn.

Any efforts to recover the aircraft will be coordinated with the National Transportation Safety Board and other agencies, said Mason County Emergency Management Coordinator Liz Reimink. No decision had been made regarding what would be done with the plane, she said.

"We would extend our deepest sympathy to the families and the survivor of this crash for their loss and our gratitude for their patience and understanding during this most difficult time," Reimink said.

Those killed were residents of Alma, a central Michigan town 150 miles northwest of Detroit.

The plane took off from Alma about 9 a.m. on July 23. Less than an hour later, Freed reported mechanical problems to the air traffic control tower in Minneapolis, said the Federal Aviation Administration, which was investigating the crash.