Small plane cracks through ice on Kent County lake

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GRATTAN TOWNSHIP, Mich. — The pilot was uninjured when a small plane cracked through the ice on Murray Lake at midday Saturday.

Shortly after noon on Saturday, the Kent County Sheriff's Office was alerted to the incident at the south end of Murray Lake, which is located between Lowell and Cannonsburg in Grattan Township in eastern Kent County.

Medical personnel said the pilot was suffering only from a mild case of hypothermia after the plane broke through the ice. He was the only occupant of the airplane at the time of the crash.

A hovercraft was called in from Cannon Township to assist at the scene.

The investigation revealed that a 2008 American Legend AL3C aircraft broke through thin ice just prior to take-off and became submerged under the ice. The pilot of the plane was identified as James Bakeman, 59, of Grand Rapids.

Bakeman was able to exit the plane on his own and was uninjured.

A witness utilized a kayak to traverse the ice-covered lake and assist Bakeman to shore.

The Kent County Sheriff's Office was assisted by the Grattan Township Fire Department, the Lowell Township Fire Department and the Michigan Department of Natural Resources.

The investigation has been turned over to the Federal Aviation Agency.

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