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Concession Seaplane Makes Forced Landing

Isle Royale National Park

National Park News

The park’s five-passenger concession seaplane experienced a mechanical failure while en route from the island to the mainland, 60 miles away, just after 1 p.m. on Monday, August 13th. The plane was eight miles offshore at the time, so the pilot turned back and landed safely under power near West Caribou Island in the 15-mile-long Rock Harbor Channel. Skies were clear at the time, with a light east wind and relatively calm waters. The pilot notified the park of the situation via marine radio and rangers Peter Maggio and Marshall Plumer responded from seven miles away in their 23-foot patrol boat. Moose/wolf biologist Rolf Peterson, who was in a small skiff in the area, provided immediate assistance by taking one of the bow float lines and towing the plane to keep it from being blown to shore. The plane’s four passengers were off-loaded into the park’s patrol boat, and the rangers then towed the seaplane to park headquarters on Mott Island, where it was secured with the assistance of staff there. The passengers and pilot were later transported from the island to Copper Harbor on the mainland via the concession ferry vessel Isle Royale Queen IV. The plane was returned to the mainland on Wednesday aboard the park’s 165-foot Ranger III. The Ranger III crew employed the ship’s on-board crane to lift the plane onto the forward cargo deck. They were assisted in unloading the plane in Houghton by the crew of a vessel from the Coast Guard’s Portage Station. It was then towed by the Coast Guard and park vessels to a landing, where it was pulled out of the water for repairs. Logistics were coordinated by chief of maintenance Keith Butler, chief ranger Larry Kangas, and Bill Hanrahan, captain of Ranger III.


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