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2 killed in plane crash near Rock County airport

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rock county plane crash
Rock County Sheriff's Office
Debris of small plane that crashed Tuesday in Janesville
rock county plane crash2
Rock County Sheriff's Office
Drone image of area where plane crashed near Janesville airport

JANESVILLE (WKOW) -- A plane crash in Rock County killed two people Tuesday morning.

Rock County dispatchers said the crash was reported at 9:18 a.m. They added that the plane went down south of Southern Wisconsin Regional Airport.

At a news conference later in the day, officials with the Rock County Sheriff's Office said the plane had taken off from the airport.

"The tower had communication with the plane who reported an undisclosed problem and moments later, tower personnel saw the plane go down and immediately called 911," said Sheriff Troy Knudson.

Authorities are waiting to release the names of the two people until the Rock County Medical Examiner's Office is able to notify the families. Both of the people killed were inside the plane.

The aircraft, which authorities called "experimental" in its design, was found in a swampy area upside down and partially submerged in mud and water. The crash scene was described as south of Driftwood Drive.

"There was a debris field and it was real evident that the [plane] did hit several trees, which tore the wings off of the fuselage. And so the plane, I'm sure with the glide slope coming into the trees, probably caused the inversion of the fuselage," said Janesville Fire Chief Ernest Rhodes.

It took a person living nearby about 10 minutes to find the crash scene and help guide responders to it, according to authorities.

Snow and fallen trees made it difficult for rescuers to approach the plane. Authorities were eventually able to get to the scene on an airboat.

"There was a lot of water. It's a very low-lying area, trees, and they were down, and of course. Right now with the snow being relatively deep, navigating all that was difficult for responding personnel," Knudson said.

The pilot radioed the airport that they were having some kind of problem shortly before the crash, according to the sheriff's office. Authorities said the radio message did not include specifics about the issue.

The sheriff's office said that the National Transportation Safety Board is responding to lead an investigation of the cause of the crash.

Plane crash press conference

A plane crash has killed at least one person in Rock County. The sheriff's office is holding a press conference to give more information about the crash. Read what we know so far here:

Posted by WKOW 27 on Tuesday, February 16, 2021
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JT Cestkowski

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Jennifer Kliese

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