"I just saw a plane go down": 911 calls released after fatal plane crash
SHEBOYGAN FALLS (CBS 58) - 911 calls show the dramatic moments following a fatal plane crash in Sheboygan County.
Those calls came from all over the Sheboygan Falls area.
From the Fly-by-acres farm where the plane crashed, to the airport, even drivers miles away.
They give us a glimpse into the first few minutes after the tragedy, as a family farm deals with the aftermath.
One of the first calls came from Jim Kroeplien who owns the farm where the plane crashed. “Got a plane down” said Jim, who described how many buildings were on fire, “multiple buildings!”
One call came from a friend of Marty Tibbitts, the pilot who died in the crash.
“We’re at the Sheboygan County airport, we just had a plane crash on takeoff,” the caller said.
When the dispatcher asked if he knew the pilot, “Yeah, he was a good friend of mine, Marty Tibbitts,” the man said.
Days after the crash, Rachel Kroeplien described the scene as she walked her family farm. “It went straight into the middle of this barn here,” said Rachel, pointing to what is now a pile of debris.
The plane damaged or destroyed three buildings and started a huge fire. “The cattle that were in there, a bunch of them are singed,” she said.
Along with the death of Tibbitts, two farm workers on the ground were injured.
“I have two employees in the barn, and the barn’s on fire!” yelled one caller, “One is laying outside, he’s trapped!”
All that was left Tuesday is a patch of missing corn where the plane hit, three damaged buildings, and twisted and burnt debris.
Everywhere you walk in the area of the crash is the smell of jet fuel.
“It’s really strong yet, that’s why we have to have people make sure that our soil and stuff isn’t contaminated, as well as just getting the smell out would be beneficial,” said Rachel.
The Kroeplien family, who also lost cattle in the crash, say they have their sights set on rebuilding.
“Once we know that we can get it cleaned up, we’re going to start getting it loaded out and then our next step will hopefully be rebuilding,” said Rachel.
Tibbitts was from Michigan, and was the only person in the plane at the time.
One of the injured workers is in critical condition, the other was released from the hospital.
The NTSB says it could take months to find out what caused the crash.