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Two killed in single engine plane crash positively identified

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MILWAUKEE (WITI) — The Milwaukee County Medical Examiner’s Office has released its report on a single engine plane crash into Lake Michigan on Saturday, July 27th.

The Milwaukee County Sheriff’s Office is leading the investigation after a 1975 Piper single engine plane crashed into Lake Michigan on Saturday, July 27th. The NTSB and FAA are also involved in the investigation.


Investigators say two were killed in the plane crash, including the plane’s pilot, 75-year-old Bill Gensler of Union Grove, and a passenger, 31-year-old Noah Morteza Favaregh of Virginia.

The crash occurred three miles off the shore of Cudahy.

A Medical Examiner’s report shows the men killed each sustained severe trauma throughout the body. The report says the men were recovered from the bottom of Lake Michigan, at a depth of about 42 feet. The report says they were found seat belted in their seats with no other parts of the plane still attached to the seats.

The plane was reportedly shattered into several pieces.

The Medical Examiner’s report says the plane took off from an airport in Racine and was headed toward Oshkosh.

The plane “went off the radar” approximately three miles off the shore of Cudahy in Lake Michigan.

A manifest reported there were two souls on board, but because the plane seats four, officials were initially searching for two additional individuals, saying they would assume there were four on board “until they know otherwise.”

The Medical Examiner’s report says Gensler had a medical certificate for his pilot license, and had had a physical, according to FAA standards, at which time he was deemed healthy and was exercising.

Gensler was said to be a very experienced pilot.

Gensler Aviation is one of the tenants at Batten International Airport.

The airport’s General Manager, David Mann has been at the airport for 22 years, and for that entire time, he worked alongside Gensler.

“I’ve received a lot of calls from just about all the members of his family. He has four boys that are scattered all over the country. Only one of them is here so far. He came in from Orlando (Sunday),” Mann said.

Mann spent much of the weekend at the airport.

Gensler took off from Batten around 2:30 Saturday afternoon.

Mann says he came to the airport after getting calls about the plane disappearing from radar.

“About the time I got to work, I got a call from the Coast Guard and I knew at that time we had a problem because they had found the debris field,” Mann said.

Over the next 24 hours, Mann says he’s gone through all the different scenarios, trying to figure out what caused the plane to crash, killing Gensler and his passenger.

“Where it was, the location and it could be something as plain and simple as a goose went through the window. It could be a catastrophic failure of one of the control surfaces,” Mann said.

Mann says now, he and many other pilots in Racine County are wondering what caused the crash that took away a familiar face at Batten.

“Good tenant, a good person. I enjoyed my relationship with him and I hope all the best for he and his family and we can get by from this and learn some lessons that will help us all,” Mann said.

Mann said sometime this week, he and other pilots will salute Gensler by grabbing a drink and facing west. They’ll have a toast for a man who, in their words, has flown off into the sunset.

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