Tuesday, April 26, 2005

Maranatha Student In Plane Crash

"Plane Crash Search Halted"

Searchers have stopped looking for a 20 year old pilot who disappeared after his plane crashed into chilly Lake Michigan near Milwaukee. Jonathan Leber of Springfield, Virginia, made a frantic 911 call late last night as his single-engine Piper sank off Cudahy, Wisconsin.
Authorities say the 44-degree water would allow for survival for about four hours. Coast Guard helicopters from air stations in Traverse City and Detroit helped the search.
Leber is a student at Maranatha Baptist Bible College in Watertown, Wisconsin. The college says Leber had gone to New York for the weekend and stopped in Michigan on Sunday before heading back to Wisconsin.

"Lake Being Searched For Pilot"

Boats and aircraft are searching Lake Michigan today for a 19-year-old pilot who ditched his single-engine plane about five miles offshore near Milwaukee.Bosun's Mate Chief Jonathan LeBeau identified the pilot as a student at Maranatha Baptist Bible College in Watertown. He is Jonathan Leber, 19, of Springfield, Va.Darryl Sturgill, assistant to Maranatha President Dr. Dave Jaspers, said Leber, a junior at Maranatha, is majoring in biblical studies and is planning on being an aviation missionary."He is a student in good academic standing and is a person who is a great leader," Sturgill said. "He is also an assistant swim coach at Watertown High School and has a big heart for young people."The plane was headed across the lake when Leber radioed that he was low on fuel at 11:40 p.m. Monday and it went down a short time later, Federal Aviation Administration spokeswoman Elizabeth Isham Cory said.Sturgill said Leber was visiting some friends at Colgate College in Hamilton, N.Y., and was on his way back when the incident took place."The pilot made a 911 call from a cell phone while sitting on top of the plane in the water, but contact with him was then lost," U.S. Coast Guard Petty Officer Guy Gillitzer said.
Leber indicated he had no flotation device and was planning to swim for shore, Coast Guard Lt. j.g. Gabe Somma said.Searchers found nothing in the lake's choppy water by early today, Somma said.He was flying under visual flight rules and had not been required to file a flight plan so it was not immediately known where the flight originated, she said.The craft was registered to Wisconsin Aviation Four Lakes Inc. in Madison.Milwaukee Police Department and Fire Department aided in the search, which included U.S. Coast Guard helicopters and a C-130 from the Canadian Coast Guard in addition to boats on the water, LeBeau said.Sturgill said as of this morning the Coast Guard is searching the area in a 200-mile radius. He added several Maranatha staff members are at the scene today.

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