Posted by: bree1972 | December 4, 2011

A Tragic Loss 12/5/2011

Many of my Lake Blackshear readers are from Michigan and have probably already heard this news on the national media this afternoon.  I wanted to comment on it tonight and will post this on the Mackinac Island blog tonight also.

Saturday night Tom Phillips and Great Lakes Air pilot Joe Pann left the St. Ignace airport around 8 p.m. for the 4.5 mile, six-minute flight to Mackinac Island aboard a single-engine Piper Saratoga.  Tom and his family are summer residents on the Island, and live in Washington State during the winter.  It’s not known at this time what went wrong, but when the plane did not reach the island as scheduled, calls went out, and local and Coast Guard searches began on land and on the water.  The searches continued all night and until the plane was located early Sunday afternoon.  It had crashed about 100 yards from the shoreline of Lake Huron, just north of St. Ignace.  Both men lost their lives in the crash.

I did not know Tom Phillips, but I do know his wife Sandy as a lovely and gracious lady.  Joe Pann was a much loved pilot who almost daily flew Mackinac residents and visitors back and forth from St. Ignace to the Island.  This tragedy strikes to the hearts of all of us who call Mackinac Island home.  Our prayers go out to Sandy and her family and to the family of Joe Pann.

A special thanks to the men and women of the Mackinac Island Fire Department, Police Department and EMT Service, and to the U.S. Coast Guard for their tireless efforts in locating Tom and Joe.

Header photo:  Heather May



  1. I’m so sorry to hear about this. If there was some way to turn time back and make changes, I would, but sadly it just doesn’t work like that. I’ve said a prayer for the two families that God will help them to get through such a terrible and sad time.

  2. Prayers immediately for all concerned. What a terrrible way to start what should be a time of peace and joy.

  3. So sorry to hear this. I’m here in Michigan but spent an isolated weekend with no tv. Sad, so sad. Prayers going out now for the families and friends.

  4. RIP Joe and Tom…

  5. So sad, how tragic. May God Bless the families of Joe & Tom and those who were involved in the rescue efforts. Prayers to all.

  6. How very sad. My prayers will go up for their families and friends.

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