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Tue, Jul 04, 2023

Pilot Killed in Mille Lacs Lake Icon A5 Accident Identified

NTSB Seeking Videos of 30 June Minnesota Mishap

The pilot and sole occupant of a single-engine ICON A5 that went down in east-central Minnesota’s Mille Lacs Lake on Friday, 30 June 2023 has been identified as 47-year-old Ryan Comer of Blane, Minnesota; so states the Federal Aviation Administration.

Mille Lacs County Sheriff Kyle Burton reported personnel of his department recovered Mr. Comer’s body from approximately 26-feet of water some eight hours after the 13:50 CDT mishap.

The ICON A5 is an amphibious, two-seat, Light-Sport Aircraft (LSA) designed and produced by Vacaville California’s ICON Aircraft. The first production specimen of the model was publicly debuted at AirVenture 2014. Customer deliveries of the A5 commenced in 2016 and were marred by the disclosure of a purchaser’s agreement comprising controversial terms the likes of contractually-mandated pilot-training; agreements to not sue ICON; and the compulsory inclusion, in every aircraft, of a cockpit camera and recorder by which pilots’ and passenger’s behaviors were to be monitored in perpetuity. What’s more, subject camera and recorder remained the property of ICON despite the fact upkeep and maintenance of such were incumbent upon aircraft owners. ICON A5 buyers were also contractually-obligated to be "supportive" of the company. In the case of resale, future owners were required to sign the selfsame agreement or face penalties. Confronted with the agreement, a number of A5 position holders reportedly canceled their purchases of the aircraft.

Initial reports set forth the accident-aircraft and a second ICON A5 piloted by a friend of Comer’s departed Minnesota’s Anoka County Municipal Airport (ANE) at approximately 13:00 CDT for purpose of flying to Mille Lacs Lake and executing water landings prior to continuing on to Minnesota’s Aitkin Municipal Airport (AIT), the pair’s final destination.

The Mille Lacs County Sheriff’s Office stated the aircraft piloted by the decedent’s friend landed successfully. Mr. Comer’s ICON A5, however, crashed on or shortly after touchdown on the lake’s surface.

Sheriff Burton remarked: “These two were very close friends, they were both flying the same type of aircraft. The friend was flying about a quarter mile behind the crashed one—he was able to see the impact when it hit the water.”

On the morning of Saturday, 01 July, Burton prevailed upon the public for assistance, asking parties in possession of security or doorbell-camera footage capturing the incident to provide such to the Mille Lacs County Sheriff’s Office. Video evidence will be turned over to the National Transportation Safety Board for use in its investigation of the accident.

Sheriff Burton thanked several agencies by which his department was assisted, to include: the Mille Lacs Tribal Police Department, the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources (DNR) Enforcement Division, the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources Park Ranger Division, the Aitkin County Sheriff’s Office, and the Morrison County Sheriff’s Office—which dispatched watercraft and rescue teams to the accident-scene.

Persons possessing video of the 30 June Mille Lacs Lake accident are asked to contact Mille Lacs County Dispatch at 320-983-8257.

FMI: www.iconaircraft.com

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