EAST MADISON — No one was hurt when a small single-engine airplane made an emergency landing in mid-morning Thursday on Wesserunsett Lake.

The plane, which had pontoons, landed on the lake after it lost oil pressure about a mile up, according to the pilot.

Pilot Donald Stoppe, 54, said from shore that it was a “good landing.”

Besides Stoppe, of Ashland, New Hampshire, two others were on board.

The plane came to rest near the middle of the lake and was towed to shore by a boat to a spot near a wood manufacturing shop on the south cove of the lake, where there also are airplane hangars. It had leaked a small amount of oil, and emergency crews used cloth booms to clean it up.

The plane, a 1983 Cessna Station Air TU 206G, was not damaged.

“We saw a loss of manifold pressure followed by a loss of oil pressure. We were a mile high at 5,500 feet,” Stoppe said on the lakeshore.

Stoppe said when the Cessna’s gauges started showing low pressure, he began looking for an available airfield to land on, then started looking for a lake on which to set down.

“As soon as I saw a lake within gliding distance, I precautionarily shut down the engine so we could glide to the lake and not rip the engine apart,” he said. He said the landing was uneventful.

Stoppe said he and his passengers were on their way to Millinocket to go whitewater rafting on the Penobscot River.

Emergency response crews from the Madison, East Madison, Anson and Skowhegan fire departments assisted at the scene, along with Somerset County sheriff’s deputies and personnel from the Anson/Madison Ambulance Service. The Maine Warden Service was called, as was the Federal Aviation Administration.

Deputy Eric Bronson, from the Madison Division of the Somerset County Sheriff’s Office, was assigned as the primary officer, Sheriff Dale Lancaster said in a news release later in the day Thursday. The initial report was of a plane crash called in by the FAA at 9:39 a.m., he said. Lancaster said it was first believed that the plane went down on Moosehead Lake in Piscataquis County.

“Upon further investigation, it was discovered that the reported crash was actually in Wesserunsett Lake, Madison, Somerset County,” Lancaster said.

Stoppe told police he has owned the plane for a couple of years and has been a pilot since 1991.

The FAA has decided not to investigate because the landing injured nobody and occurred without incident.

Doug Harlow — 612-2367

[email protected]

Twitter: @Doug_Harlow


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