Teen, volunteer pilot killed in crash coming back from flying lesson

Door County Sheriff's Chief Deputy Pat McCarty gives a brief statement to reporters near the scene of a private airplane crash in Peninsula State Park on Sunday night, Sept. 18, 2016. Video by Samantha Hernandez Samantha Hernandez/USA TODAY NETWORK-Wiscon

GREEN BAY — A Gibraltar High School senior from Sister Bay was killed Sunday night along with the volunteer pilot who was taking her back from a flying lesson in Green Bay when their plane crashed in Peninsula State Park.

Door County Sheriff Steve Delarwelle on Monday identified the victims as Olivia M. Dahl, 16, and Ralph L. Keller, 69, of La Grange Park, Ill., and Sister Bay.

Counselors were on hand at Gibraltar High School to help students cope with the loss of their friend.

A citizen on the bike trail in Peninsula Park located the wreckage to the west of Highland Road, according to a Sheriff's Department news release.

"It appeared that the pilot was making his approach to the Ephraim Airport when something went wrong ... Miss Dahl was a flying enthusiast and was taking lessons in Green Bay to get her pilot's license," the release said. "Mr. Keller was a volunteer pilot who transported Miss Dahl to her lesson in Green Bay."

The plane was found off Highland Road, north of the golf course maintenance building, just before 10 p.m. after more than an hour of intense searching by northern Door County police and fire personnel.

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The search lasted about an hour and 20 minutes and involved personnel, equipment and boats from Egg Harbor, Gibraltar, Baileys Harbor, Ephraim, Sturgeon Bay and Sister Bay/Liberty Grove fire departments, the Eagle III rescue helicopter, Door County Emergency Medical Services and the Sheriff's Department. The U.S. Coast Guard was also notified.

Investigators with the Federal Aviation Administration arrived on the scene Monday morning and will start their investigation into what may have caused the crash. The National Transportation Safety Board is expected to arrive on Tuesday.

Follow Samantha Hernandez and Warren Bluhm on Twitter: @svhernandez and @DCAWarrenBluhm


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