Pilot's friends, colleagues react to deadly Lake Michigan plane crash


by Tiffany Shepherd
by Lane Kimble

MILWAUKEE—An experienced pilot and his passenger are dead after their plane crashed in Lake Michigan Saturday.

Rescue crews searched the scene of the crash for hours.

Now the pilot’s friends and colleagues find themselves searching for answers to what went wrong.
“He could handle anything. He could handle anything,” said Gensler’s friend Gerald Bovitz.

75-year-old flight instructor Bill Gensler earned quite a reputation over the years.

He’s taught so many people to fly that get him in odd situations and he’s recovered from so many things that I feel pretty positive it certainly wasn’t caused by Bill,” said David Mann Batten International Airport General Manager.

Gensler and a passenger were flying a 1975 Piper Cherokee Arrow over Lake Michigan when they suddenly disappeared from radar.

Rescue teams rushed out a mile and a half off Cudahy and found the plane under 42 feet of water.
Bill and his passenger were killed.

Mann who has worked with Gensler for 20 years said that Bill had more than 40,000 hours of flying experience and had recently passed his yearly physical exam.

Gensler has been flying out of Batten for more than 40 years and has his instructional office there.

His good friend said that he was always teaching.

“Every time we’d go up I’d get scared with him. But it was a fun scared. And he taught me and brought skills out that I didn’t know I had,” said Bovitz.

The name of Gensler’s 31-year-old passenger has not been released.

Officials are still investigating to determine what caused the plane to crash.


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