/ Articles / Plane crash injures one at Rhinelander airport

Plane crash injures one at Rhinelander airport

April 17, 2020 by Jamie Taylor

Friday morning, March 6, investigators with the Federal Aviation Administration and the National Travel Safety Board continued investigating the cause of the crash of a single engine Cessna 208 Caravan cargo plane Thursday, March 5, at the Rhinelander-Oneida County Airport that injured the pilot and lone occupant. 

The location of the wreckage, adjacent to but not on the main runway, was deemed a hazard and remained closed because it couldn’t be moved Friday.

The call of the incident, which occurred between runways nine and 27, came in to the dispatch center of the Oneida County Sheriff’s Office shortly after 8 a.m. The pilot was transported to St. Mary’s Hospital in Rhinelander, where he was treated and released.

Airport director Matthew Leitner said the aircraft, operated by Kingsford, Michigan-based CSA Air, Inc., was secured by authorities. All flights into and out of the airport were halted until investigators arrived. Once on scene, they allowed the airport to reopen, without the use of the larger main runway due to the plane’s proximity to the runway.

The original plan was as soon as the airport was cleared to reopen with one runway, the Delta passenger planes would land on that one.

“That was the plan, but last night, they said they didn’t wish to do that,” Leitner said Friday morning, adding the airline goes well above safety guidelines to protect its passengers.

“Ultimately it is the dispatcher’s (in Minneapolis/St. Paul) decision. That changed last night,” Leitner said.

He said a second dispatcher looked at the projected weather for Rhinelander at the time of arrival and said it would be riskier to land on the shorter runway. 

Delta flights resumed Friday once weather conditions improved.

Smaller airplanes continued to fly into and out of the airport using the shorter runway.

Leitner said airport rescue personnel and firefighters were on the scene immediately, backed up by firefighters from the Rhinelander fire and police departments and other area fire departments. He said since there was no fire in the incident, fire fighting foam was not used.

“No fire, no foam,” Leitner confirmed.

The response from airport emergency staff and first responders from the immediate area “went by the book” that is used in drills to simulate a crash and fire of a commercial passenger plane.

“Airport fire fighting responded immediately,” Leitner said. “The (911) dispatcher dispatched the fire department, police and an ambulance. We had the ambulance at the gate, got him onboard the ambulance and took him (pilot) to the hospital and the police secured the perimeter and the site. It went well, really well. That’s why we drill.”

Jamie Taylor may be reached via email at [email protected] Brian Jopek of The Lakeland Times contributed to this story.

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