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Local News

Breaking: Plane crashes in Illinois River near Morris, fire chief says

Both passenger, pilot found alive

The Morris Fire Department was on the scene of a plane crash Wednesday afternoon.
The Morris Fire Department was on the scene of a plane crash Wednesday afternoon.

MORRIS – The Morris Fire Department was on the scene of a plane crash Wednesday afternoon.

A small plane crashed about 2 p.m. Wednesday into the Illinois River about three miles upstream from William G. Stratton State Park, Morris Fire Chief Tracey Steffes said. Emergency personnel located both the plane's pilot and a passenger about 30 minutes later.

According to scanner traffic, the pilot suffered a head injury but was alert and conscious. He was found near the Dresden Nuclear Power Station. Both pilot and passenger refused treatment.

The plane was reportedly upside-down in the river. The crash occurred upstream from emergency crews' staging area at Stratton Park, near Heidecke Lake State Fish and Wildlife Area, according to scanner traffic.

Morris and Coal City firefighters, as well as Illinois State Police, were on the scene. The Illinois Department of Natural Resources had also been called along with the Federal Aviation Administration and the Coast Guard.

Several area agencies had received reports earlier of a plane doing "touch and goes" in Heidecke Lake and flying low over the area, although Steffes could not confirm if it was the same aircraft. The plane in the water had pontoon flotation devices on the bottom, Steffes confirmed.

Steffes said that fire department boats moved the aircraft out of the river channel, but the pilot would need to make arrangements to salvage the craft from the river.

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