2 killed in plane crash near Rock County airport

JANESVILLE, Wis. —  Two people died Tuesday morning in a plane crash near Southern Wisconsin Regional Airport in Rock County.

The plane crashed around 9:20 a.m. along the edge of Happy Hollow Park, a wooded area about a mile south of the airport.

Emergency crews said the remote location made their response difficult. They approached the area from the land and water and were able to reach the plane by airboat.

“There was a lot of water. It’s a very low-lying area. Trees were down and of course with the snow being deep, navigating all that was difficult for responding personnel,” Rock County Sheriff Troy Knudson said during a media briefing on the crash.

The plane was discovered upside down partially submerged in mud and water.

Both occupants on the plane were pronounced dead at the scene. Their identifies will be released at a later time pending notification of family.

The plane crashed about a minute after it took off from the airport. In this time, someone onboard contacted the airport tower about an undisclosed problem.  Authorities did not share specifics about that message during Tuesday’s news conference.

Conditions were clear at the time of the crash.

Crews said it appears the plane hit several trees as it crash due to the location of crash debris. There was also no evidence of a fire at the site.

Authorities described the aircraft as “experimental” and “unique” in its design.

The Rock County Sheriff’s Office will protect the crash scene until federal investigators arrive. The scene will then be turned over to the National Transportation Safety Board.