Pilot killed in Allegan County plane crash

7:26 PM, Sep 23, 2011   |    comments
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  • Bill Beswick, Pilot
  • The plane involved in the crash on U.S. 131 near M-89 Courtesy: Thorp18.com
  • A small plane clipped this FedEx truck before the plane crashed on US 131 near the Plainwell Municipal Airport

PLAINWELL, Mich. (WZZM) - Emergency are investigating a small plane crash in Allegan County that killed a pilot from Holland. 

Around 8:45 a.m. Friday, authorities say the plane clipped a FedEx truck on northbound U.S. 131, then crashed into the ground and caught fire a few yards away from the runway at Plainwell Municipal Airport.  The Thorp T-18 was enroute from Holland's Tulip City Airport.  

Authorities at the Plainwell Municipal Airport say the pilot, 73-year-old William Beswick, died in the crash. The driver of the truck survived.

Michigan State Police tell WZZM 13 News two similar planes left Holland Tulip City Airport at the same time Friday morning.  One flown by Beswick's friend landed safely, but the other -- flown by Beswick did not.  The two men were flying to the Plainwell airport for breakfast at a nearby restaurant, a routine trip they took several times a week.

Authorities say the cause of the crash is unknown but they believe fog was a contributing factor.

Beswick was an experienced pilot.  The Holland native had been flying since the 1960s. Two of his five children are also pilots.

The FAA has taken over the investigation into the crash.

Allegan County Sheriff's Deputies have closed one lane of the northbound side of the highway, from M-89 to M-222. It is unclear how long the closure will last. Both lanes on the southbound side are open. Drivers are advised to avoid the area.

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