ERIE TOWNSHIP – The Ohio State Highway Patrol is investigating a minor injury plane crash that occurred on Saturday, Sept. 30, at approximately 4:13 p.m. The plane crashed into the Portage River near 4640 W. Harbor Rd. in Erie Township in Ottawa County.
The pilot was James Raymond Lenardson, age 72, of Bonita Springs, Fla., operating a 2003 Cessna 206 seaplane. Leo Joseph Eggert Jr, age 67, of Perrysburg, Ohio was a passenger in the plane. Both had minor injuries and were transported by Port Clinton EMS to Magruder Hospital in Port Clinton.
Alcohol and/or drugs are not believed to be a factor in this crash, reported the Ohio State Highway Patrol. The crash remains under investigation.
Lenardson was traveling eastbound on the Portage River attempting to take off. As Lenardson began his initial ascent, he struck a power line, lost control and crashed into the Portage River. Lenardson and Eggert were able to exit the plane as it began to sink and get to shore.
An Ohio Edison high voltage power line was knocked down into the river and another onto a cottage at The Resort at Erie Landing. Ohio Edison responded to the scene to de-energize the power lines.
Rescue Marine was contacted to retrieve the plane from the river. The Ohio State Highway Patrol was assisted at the scene by the Ottawa County Sheriff’s Office, Erie Township Fire, Port Clinton EMS, Ohio Edison, FAA, and the NTSB.