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Plane loses power, makes emergency landing northwest of Elkhart County

Two passengers unharmed as plane made an emergency landing in a field in northwest Elkhart.

Posted on July 25, 2013 at 1:00 a.m. | Updated on July 26, 2013 at 8:24 a.m.

ELKHART — JoAnna Stemm knew something was wrong when she heard a small airplane lose power as it flew over her Osceola home Thursday morning.

Just before noon on Thursday, July 25, the plane carrying two people made an emergency landing in a field a quarter-mile north of C.R. 12, between Ash Road and C.R. 1 on Elkhart’s northwest side.

According to a press release from the Elkhart County Sheriff’s Department, the pilot, Stacy Jo Lutes, of Shipshewana, and a passenger did not suffer any injuries during the emergency landing.

Emergency crews from Cleveland Township Fire Department and Elkhart Fire Department responded to the scene. Deputies from Elkhart and St. Joseph County Sheriff’s Departments and Indiana State Police also assisted.

According to officials, the Piper PA-12 had to make a landing after experiencing engine failure and not having enough power to make it to the airport.

Crews blocked C.R. 12 between Ash Road and C.R. 1 to traffic while they tried to find a way through a field to get to the plane. There was no damage to the plane or the field, according to the Sheriff’s Department.

“We were outside gardening and we heard the plane and all of a sudden, we heard it lose its power,” Stemm said. “It started back up and then backfired. You could see it through the trees.”

Stemm, 44, also said the plane lost power and backfired a second time.

“Then we heard nothing and we didn’t hear a crash. We ran and couldn’t see anything,” said Stemm, who lives north of McKinley near Birch Road, just west of the Elkhart-St. Joseph County line. Stemm then called the tower at Elkhart Municipal Airport to report the incident.

The Sheriff’s Department initiated the investigation and forwarded a report to the Federal Aviation Administration.


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