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Pilot Dead After Small Plane Crashes Near Rockford

A small plane crashed outside Rockford, killing the pilot. (CBS)

A small plane crashed outside Rockford, killing the pilot. (CBS)

Mike Krauser Mike Krauser
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UPDATED 06/26/12 1:14 p.m.

MONROE CENTER, Ill. (CBS) — A pilot is dead after a plane went down near Rockford on Tuesday morning.

WBBM Newsradio’s Mike Krauser reports the single-engine plane went down southeast of the Chicago-Rockford International Airport, in a farm field in Ogle County.

LISTEN: WBBM Newsradio’s Mike Krauser reports


The pilot radioed there was a fire onboard before the plane went down around 8 a.m.

CBS affiliate WIFR-TV says Rockford firefighters were dispatched just after 7:25 a.m. for a report of an emergency landing with a fire on board. The plane never made it to the airport.

“It crashed about five miles southeast of Rockford; one person onboard,” Federal Aviation Administration spokeswoman Elizabeth Isham Cory said.

CBS 2’s Kris Habermehl reports the single-engine came in at a shallow descent angle into the field of standing corn. The aircraft slid to a stop, took all the corn down to the dirt, and caught fire.

The plane departed from DeKalb and was headed to the airport in Rockford, Cory told the Sun-Times Media Wire.

Ogle County Sheriff Michael Harn says the pilot told controllers at Rockford’s airport that he had smoke in his cockpit and planned an emergency landing, the wire reported. When the airport lost contact with the pilot, the sheriff’s department launched a search and found the plane engulfed in a raging fire.

A field fire was reported on Crill Road just off Interstate 39 and Highway 72, in Ogle County near the town of Monroe Center, WIFR reported.

Cory said the pilot was on visual flight rules, and was not in contact with air traffic control at the time.

The identity of the pilot has not been released.

The FAA and the National Transportation Safety Board are investigating the plane crash.