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Frankfort —  The small plane that disappeared last weekend over Lake Michigan during an emergency landing has been found, authorities said Thursday.

The president of Detroit Salt Co. and the owner of an air service operation in Howell were aboard the craft when it disappeared.

The missing Beech Craft Bonanza 35 with tail number N1561Z has been located in Lake Michigan about 4.5 miles off the coast of Frankfort and in about 515 feet of water, Michigan State Police and the Benzie County Sheriff's Office said Thursday. Frankfort is about 260 miles northwest of Detroit.

However, the plane's occupants, Emanuel Manos, 53, of Monroe, and Randal Dippold, 65, of Perry, were not with the aircraft, they said. Officials said last Friday the search for the two men had been turned into a recovery mission.

MoreDetroit Salt Co. leader among 2 feared lost in plane disappearance

Searchers found the plane in the lake at about 5:15 p.m. Wednesday using an autonomous underwater vehicle with sonar. A rover equipped with a video camera was used to confirm and search the plane for its pilot and passenger, according to authorities.

"While were happy to provide some additional information to their families, we recognize that closure may be difficult to find without the location of their loved ones," officials said in a statement. "Our continued thoughts and prayers are with the families." 

According to a preliminary National Transportation Safety Board report, the plane had left an airport in Ontonagon Count and was en route to Monroe when the pilot declared an emergency due to engine failure while over Lake Michigan at about 5:49 p.m. on May 12. 

The pilot attempted to divert to Frankfort Dow Memorial Airport, the report said. Radar and radio communications were lost when the airplane was about four nautical miles west of the airport.

It also said the water's depth in the area is about 600 feet and the water temperature varied between 39 degrees and 42 degrees based on buoy readings.

cramirez@detroitnews.com
Twitter: @CharlesERamirez

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