By Kevin Caufield
and Craig Sterrett
DAYTON — One man is dead after a small plane crashed in the Fox River north of Ottawa, marking the second river-related death in three days in the Illinois Valley.
At daybreak this morning, investigators confirmed a man’s body was pulled from the Fox River near the Dayton Dam at the site of an “ultra-glide” plane crash around 10:30 p.m., according to La Salle County Sheriff’s Office and La Salle County Coroner’s Office.
The body of the passenger in the two-seat ultralight plane, Jeffrey Carpenter, 50, of Chicago was recovered from the Fox River this morning, according to the county departments. Carpenter was pronounced dead at the scene at 7:05 a.m. today.
La Salle County Sheriff’s Office was called after sundown, around 10:30 p.m. Monday, about the small plane crash that deputies believe may have occurred around 9:30 p.m.
The pilot of the small craft, Nicholas Peterson of Arizona, was able to make it to shore after the crash. He told deputies he experienced engine problems, causing the “ultra-glide” to crash into the Fox River. Peterson was taken to St. Elizabeth Hospital, Ottawa, for injuries.
MABAS 25 swift-water rescue team members searched through the night. Deputies maintained a perimeter around the crash and search areas during the early-morning hours. Emergency personnel had to wait until daybreak in order to pull the man’s body and wreckage out of the water, a county sheriff’s sergeant said.
The accident is under investigation by the sheriff’s office and coroner’s office.
“The FAA will respond later today to inspect the ultra-glide in cooperation with the sheriff’s investigation,” the La Salle County press release read.
Illinois River search in day three
Meanwhile, the search continued today for a Naperville man who may have drowned in the Illinois River between Marseilles and Seneca.
Conservation police Sgt. Robert “Hank” Frazier said a “male subject” reportedly entered the water and did not re-emerge at 4:40 p.m. Sunday about ½ mile upstream from Illini State Park. Ottawa River Rescue is assisting Illinois Conservation Police in a search for the victim.
“Given the temperature of the water, I’m sure we’ll find him today,” Frazier said this morning.
Sheriff’s deputies and coroner’s officials said a press release would be issued once next of kin was identified. St. Elizabeth hospital officials do not release patient condition reports.