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Family members, officials still can't explain fatal plane crash in Lake Michigan

Plane crash graphic (properly sized)
Plane crash graphic (properly sized)

CUDAHY, WI (WTAQ) - Officials and family members are at a loss to explain why a single-engine plane crashed in Lake Michigan, killing two people.

The pilot of the Saturday afternoon crash has been identified as 75-year-old William Gensler of Racine, who ran an aviation company at his hometown airport. His passenger has not been identified.

The plane went down in Lake Michigan about a mile-and-a-half east of Cudahy.

Divers, rescue boats, and helicopter crews spent over 6 hours searching for the missing 1975 Piper Arrow. Federal officials are investigating.

Dave Mann, general manager of Racine’s Batten International Airport, said Gensler had over 40,000 hours of flying experience over 42 years. Most of it was spent teaching others to fly.

Commercial pilot Pete Pascal said Gensler had the highest rating a pilot could earn. Pascal said he did not know of any mechanical problems with the plane, which he was supposed to fly last week before a trip got canceled.

The Coast Guard said Gensler was flying to the EAA AirVenture Show in Oshkosh when the crash occurred – but Mann said he did not believe Gensler was heading there.

The week-long EAA show begins today. 

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