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Published: Friday, 8/13/2010

<br>Ferry workers lauded with saving passengers after plane crash lands

BY TOM TROY
BLADE STAFF WRITER

PUT-IN-BAY, Ohio — A Miller Boat Line captain and his crew are being credited with helping to pull four people to safety from Lake Erie after their plane made a crash landing near South Bass Island, home of the popular resort Put-in-Bay.

David Dress, 34, a captain for Miller, said he contacted those on the William Market Ferry, which was preparing to leave a Miller dock on South Bass Island, after a small plane was spotted in the air and approaching the water about 11:30 a.m. Friday.

"I could see it was in trouble. It skipped across the water once," said Steve Rose, 43, the captain of the William Market.

This map approximates the location of the plane crash in Lake Erie. This map approximates the location of the plane crash in Lake Erie.
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He and others said Friday afternoon that the single-engine 1977 Cessna 210 plane appeared to lose power before its pilot approached the water and landed tail first.

The nose then immediately started to sink but the four who were on board — two women and two men — were able to get out of the plane. Miller crew members threw life jackets and the four climbed up a ladder on the ferry boat.

None of the occupants of the plane was injured, authorities said. The pilot is Mark Neal, 61, of Westland, Mich., and his passengers are Michael Reddy of Westland, Mich., and Ashley Braunstein, 21, and Amber McClure, 21, both of Detroit.

The plane was traveling from Canton, Mich., to the island.

Bernie Wise, left, and Capt. Steve Rose of the Miller Boat Line ferry William Market discuss the rescue of four people from a plane that crashed into the water off South Bass Island in Lake Erie on Friday. Bernie Wise, left, and Capt. Steve Rose of the Miller Boat Line ferry William Market discuss the rescue of four people from a plane that crashed into the water off South Bass Island in Lake Erie on Friday.
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"I'm glad everybody's safe. Other than that we're doing our job. This is what we were trained to do," said Jake Market, 20, who was on the crew that helped to bring the plane passengers to safety.

He said they followed a safety plan when the plane was spotted.

A salvage company, Rescue Marine of West Harbor, Ohio, was searching Friday afternoon for the plane, which was believed to be near the south tip of South Bass Island and remained under water.

Divers as well as boats were in the water searching for the plane's wreckage.

Mark Neal, left, pilot of a Cessna plane that crash landed Friday in Lake Erie off South Bass Island, speaks with Sgt. Eric Short of the Sandusky post of the Ohio Highway Patrol. Mark Neal, left, pilot of a Cessna plane that crash landed Friday in Lake Erie off South Bass Island, speaks with Sgt. Eric Short of the Sandusky post of the Ohio Highway Patrol.
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Put-in-Bay Police Chief Robert Lampela said the pilot told authorities that the plane's engine gave out on the final approach to the Put-in-Bay Airport, which is near Miller's docks.

Put-In-Bay is about 40 miles east of Toledo.


This cell phone image shows the plane sinking into Lake Erie on Friday morning. This cell phone image shows the plane sinking into Lake Erie on Friday morning.
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