Sheriff: Neighbors help save pilot after plane crash in Mukwa

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MUKWA, Wis. (WBAY) – The Waupaca County Sheriff’s Office says neighbors came to the rescue on Sunday after a single-engine plane crashed in the Town of Mukwa.

It happened at 4:22 p.m. on the N4100 block of Faskell Road, near the runway at Poppy’s Flying Acres, a private airport.

The pilot was flying a new, home-built plane with less than 50 hours of flight time when it crashed.

Paul Nichols was at home across from the field where the plane crashed.

“My wife said a planed crashed, she said “it’s smoking, you guys got to get out there” and we just started running,” said Paul.

Paul and his 15-year-old son rushed to the smoldering crash site.

“As we got closer we realized how serious it was and kind of had to catch our breath a little bit and then we worked our way up to the plane. Then I seen the gentleman in there still kind of halfway in the cockpit – plane was tipped half way. He was conscious and I was able to grab his arm and pull him out of the plane,” said Paul.

That’s when things took a turn.

“We were able to get him up on his feet – he was actually able to walk and kind of stumble – and we got him farther away and just as we had turned and got him up there was an explosion and the fire just increased by probably twice, twice as much as it was,” said Paul.

The plane is considered a total loss, but that’s not what’s important according to Sgt. Kevin Studzinski of the Waupaca County Sheriff’s Office.

“Due to their heroic actions the pilot is still alive today,” said Sgt. Studzinski.

Sgt. Studzinski says the pilot would likely have died if he wasn’t pulled to safety.

The pilot, who was the only person inside the plane, was transported to a hospital in New London. Both deputies and Nichols say the pilot seemed to have a head injury, though the extent of his injuries are currently unknown.

The Federal Aviation Administration says it will be on site to investigate the cause of the crash.

The sheriff’s office is calling Nichols acts and those of the his neighbors heroic. Nichols says everyone was just doing the right thing.

“If I was in that situation I would pray that somebody would just come and help me out if I needed it,” he said.