Boy Survives Kelley's Island Plane Crash; Two Others Killed

The Coast Guard Cutter Bristol Bay is the on-scene command post for the search.
The Coast Guard Cutter Bristol Bay is the on-scene command post for the search.

KELLEY'S ISLAND -- Rescuers have now found the bodies of both victims killed in a plane crash on Monday off Kelley's Island.  The Coast Guard says a Cessna 172 airplane piloted by 47-year-old Jeff Hutchison took off from the island Monday night, flew about a half a mile east of the island, then went into the water.

A witness who saw the plane go down rowed a boat toward the crash site, and pulled 7-year-old Joel Hutchison from the water.  The body of Jeremy Hutchison, 9, was found Tuesday evening in the fuselage of the plane, which was dragged to shallower water by divers.  Jeff Hutchison's body was found around 8:00pm Tuesday near the crash scene.  It was in about 20 feet of water.

Searchers also found another body near the wreckage.  The Coast Guard says it was one of the three people who have been missing since Monday night.  (See attached story "Searchers Recover Body of Missing Boater").

The Coast Guard, the Ohio Department of Natural Resources, the Ottawa County Sheriff's Department, Put-in-Bay Police, and other agencies all sent rescuers in boats to search the lake.  Until the bodies were found, all agencies treated it as a search and rescue mission, not a body recovery mission.  The Coast Guard also sent the cutter Bristol Bay to be its on-scene command post, and a helicopter from Air Station Detroit.

The wreckage was found with the help of a side-scanning sonar unit from the Ohio Department of Natural Resources.  The Coast Guard says the water in the area of the crash is anywhere from 9 to 20 feet deep.

Searchers were able to recover an airplane wheel and other wreckage overnight.

The man who rescued 7-year-old Joel Hutchison says he saw the lights of the plane go out. "I screamed for my wife to call 911," said Charles Herndon of Kelley's Island. "I went for the boat and rowed as hard as I could to where I thought the plane had gone down."

"It was pitch black, and I had no flashlight," Herndon continued. "I was calling out, and I got a reply, a faint reply from a kid."

Hutchison was able to grab the side of the boat, and Herndon took him to shore. Rescuers flew him to St. Vincent Mercy Medical Center, where he's listed in stable condition.  He told Herndon that his seatbelt had broken.  He stayed afloat for about 15 minutes before being rescued.

Joel's family from the Lima area is now with him in the hospital.

Kelley's Island is about 55 miles east of Toledo in Lake Erie, about 3 1/2 miles north of the Marblehead peninsula.

Count on News 11 to follow this story as it develops.

Updated by AEB