June 24--A Chicago man was killed and an Arizona man was injured when their ultralight aircraft crashed into the Fox River in Ottawa, authorities said.
The pilot, Nicholas Peterson, was able to cut himself out of the powered parachute after it crashed just downstream from the Dayton Dam in LaSalle County, authorities said. He made it to a nearby airport about 10 p.m and was being treated at a hospital.
He told authorities he was unable to free the passenger, Jeffrey Carpenter, 50.
Rescue workers spent hours trying to reach the aircraft, which was lodged against a log 500 feet from each shore of the river in waist-high, fast-moving water 50 yards south of the damn, Marseilles Fire Chief Mick Garrison told WGN-TV.
"The current is really fast, it's over 7,000 feet per second, which is extremely swift water -- flood stage," Garrison said. "The water's not that deep, but you can't walk in it. It'll wipe you right away."
Carpenter's body was recovered at 7:05 a.m., according to a release from the LaSalle County sheriff's office.
LaSalle County Sheriff Tom Templeton told reporters the pilot had engine trouble before going down. He was able to free himself and tried to help the passenger who was still strapped in, but the current was too strong, Templeton said.
Authorities said the two men had departed from Sky Dive Chicago, about two miles from the crash site.
Connie Reppine, who lives near the river, said residents have become familiar with parachutes and paragliders landing nearby, both day and night. But when she saw what she thought was a paraglider flying low over the dam Monday night, she sensed something was wrong.
The aircraft was low enough she could see someone inside, she said. The second occupant was hidden from view.
"I said, 'Mother, he is going to go into the river,'" she told WGN-TV. "I'm used to seeing them, but it was just really, really scary because he was flying way too low."
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