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Four dead, child survives in plane crash in Michigan

By Allen Cone
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Four dead, child survives in plane crash in Michigan
Island Airways flies out of Welke Airport on Beaver Island in Michigan. Photo courtesy Island Airways

Nov. 14 (UPI) -- A twin-engine commuter plane crashed landing on an island in Lake Michigan, killing four people but a girl survived, officials said.

On Saturday afternoon, the Island Airways' Britten-Norman BN-2 plane was landing on the runway of the privately owned Welke Airport on Beaver Island, which is west of Mackinaw City, according to the Charlevoix County Sheriff's Office. The flight was scheduled for 1:30 p.m. Saturday, and the FAA reported it departed from Charlevoix, which is about 32 miles away. Mackinaw City is 255 miles north of Detroit.

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The dead included the unidentified pilot, as well as Gaylord real estate agent Mike Perdue, and Kate Leese and Adam Kendall, who were planning a vineyard in the area, the News-Review reported. Perdue's 11-year-old child, Laney, was life-flighted to McClaren Northern Michigan Hospital in Petoskey.

Two dogs also died in the crash.

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The U.S. Coast Guard posted on Twitter that crew members of an MH-60 Jayhawk helicopter were training when an emergency transmission from Beaver Island was received. They saw debris from the crash on the island.

Island Airways' fleet includes Britten Norman Islanders, Piper Apache and Piper Aztec

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The airline has served the community since 1945.

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Island Airways' website says: "For more than 70 years we have been both Charlevoix and Beaver Island's committed aviation service provider. At Island Airways, you are more than just a passenger, you are part of our family." In 1923, the first air passenger to Beaver Island was a doctor providing medical services.

In 1969, the Welke family moved to Beaver Island and in 1975 started Welke Aviation. In 1983, McPhillips Flying Service & Welke Aviation merged to form Island Airways.

Britten-Norman is a privately owned British aircraft manufacturer.

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