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"It really beat me up:" Pilot speaks after failed landing on Camp Lake

NOW: “It really beat me up:“ Pilot speaks after failed landing on Camp Lake


ANTIOCH, Ill. (CBS 58) -- Donald Fechtner, 78, from Antioch, Illinois was practicing landing his ultralight seaplane on Camp Lake in Trevor Monday evening when he ran into trouble.

“I landed on the water and it was just so fast I tried to get it back in the air and it wouldn’t go up,” Fechtner said.

He tried to get the plane to shore, but water started pouring in.

“When the water was over my ankles I thought uh-oh and I couldn’t believe how fast it came in,” the pilot said, “It was up to my nose quick.”

He abandoned the plane and walked to shore. He said it was a cold, muddy, 20-minute walk out of the water.

“It really beat me up,” he said.

Tuesday morning, Fechtner and his friends along with complete strangers pitched in to help get his plane out of the lake.

“Makes you think about mankind,” Fechtner said. “There are some helpful people and they were very very helpful.”

He says the plane is able to land on ground or water and he had only owned it for a few months.

“It’s called an experimental aircraft which means its not a certified aircraft by FAA rules,” Fechtner said.

He’s been flying for more than 50 years, and despite what happened Fechtner may take off again in the future.

“I’m very well known to get back up on the horse,” he said.

The FAA is now investigating what caused the plane to stop working.

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