Names Released In FDL County Plane Crash Near Esterbrook Road


The two men injured in a plane crash southwest of the Fond du Lac County Airport Wednesday afternoon are expected to survive. Sheriff’s Lt. Ryan Waldschmidt says 73-year-old Thomas Helm of Neenah and 60-year-old David Plathe of Dedham, Massachusetts are both in stable condition. He says Plathe was interested in purchasing that model airplane and Helm was teaching him how to fly it. They were doing “touch and goes” or touching down at the airport and then taking off again. Waldschmidt says they did 4 or 5 of them and were about 200 to 300 feet in the air when they started experiencing engine problems. He says that’s why Helm made the hard left bank. He says he tried to get back to the airport, but because of loss of altitude and power the plane clipped a power line. The plane ended up crashing near a cornfield. Helm was taken to St. Agnes Hospital in Fond du Lac and Flight for Life flew Plathe to ThedaCare Regional Medical Center in Neenah.  

Fond du Lac County Sheriff’s officials have released the names of the two men injured in a small plane crash southwest of the County Airport Wednesday afternoon. Seventy-three-year-old Thomas Helm of Neenah was the pilot.  He was taken to St. Agnes Hospital in Fond du Lac. Sixty-year-old David Plathe, of Dedham, Massachusetts, was his passenger.  Flight for Life flew him to ThedaCare Regional Medical Center in Neenah. The two were practicing landings and takeoffs from the County Airport when they experienced engine failure. Helm attempted to return to the airport, but did not have enough altitude and struck a power line before crashing into the edge of a farm field.  Helm is an instructor and he was training Plathe. The FAA and NTSB are investigating the crash.