Last Updated: 3:55 p.m. 7/30/23
OSHKOSH — Four people have died and two were injured after two separate plane crashes occurred at the EAA AirVenture Oshkosh 2023 on Saturday.
According to the EAA website, the first crash involved a single-engine T-6 Texan warbird with two people on board. 30-year-old Devyn Reilly from Guadalupe, Texas and 20-year-old Zach Colliemoreno were killed when it crashed into Lake Winnebago around 9 a.m. after departing Wittman Regional Airport. The Winnebago County Sheriff’s Department is investigating with the NTSB and the FAA.
Hours later, a Rotorway 162F helicopter and an ELA 10 Eclipse gyrocopter, each with two people on board, collided in midair at the Wittman Regional Airport around 12:25 p.m. The pilot, 69-year-old Mark Peterson from Foley, Alabama and 72-year-old Thomas Volz from Amelia, Ohio were killed in the crash at the south end of the EAA AirVenture flightline.
“What happened on Saturday is extraordinarily rare…we can’t remember the last time there were two incidents in the same day, much less two that had fatalities,” said EAA Director of Communications Dick Knapinski.
Two people were also injured in the midair crash. The Winnebago County Sheriff’s Department says they are in stable condition at a local hospital.
The aircraft from both plane crashes on Saturday belonged to event attendees who were not involved in the air show.
Fox World Travel Tour Manager Colleen Alsberg lives in Oshkosh and told Wisconsin’s Weekend Morning News that she hears planes constantly during the week leading up the the air show: “When it get’s quiet, that scares me because something went down,” she said. “It got eerily quiet at one point and you knew something had happened because they shut down the airspace completely.”
Wittman Regional Airport halted aircraft operations while the second plane crash was initially investigated. The afternoon air show went on at 2:45 p.m. after a 15-minute delay, as well as the evening air show.
As of Sunday afternoon, crews are still working to bring the T-6 Texan from the first crash out of Lake Winnebego. The helicopter and gyrocopter in the second crash were recovered and sent to a secure hanger for continued investigation into the cause of that crash.
This is a developing story and will be updated with any new information.