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Crashes Mar Wisconsin Airshow

The propeller of a Navy warbird sliced into a home-built airplane on a taxiway during an airshow Sunday, killing a passenger, officials said.

The victim in the home-built Van's RV — one of the most popular kit-built planes — was pronounced dead at the scene at Wittman Regional Airport, but the pilot was unhurt, said Tom Poberezny, president of the Experimental Aircraft Association, which puts on the annual AirVenture show.

Neither of the two people in the World War II-era Grumman TBM Avenger were injured, Poberezny said.

The planes were preparing for departure when the Avenger struck the back of the Canadian-registered RV, said association spokesman Dick Knapinski. Federal and local authorities were investigating. The victim's name was not released.

The fatality was the airport's third since people began arriving for AirVenture. A couple died July 23 when their Europa XS home-built plane crashed on approach.

Another small airplane apparently crashed miles from the airshow Sunday into Lake Michigan, where rescuers pulled a passenger from the water and searched for the missing pilot, authorities said.

The single-engine plane hit the water on its belly about three miles east of the shore without breaking up, but the pilot is now missing, said Chicago Fire Department spokesman Larry Langford.

"According to the survivor, the engine quit and the pilot did a great job of landing on the water," he said.

The survivor did not appear to be seriously injured, walking to a waiting ambulance after being brought ashore, Langford said. The identities of the pilot and passenger were not released.

The plane took off from Oshkosh, Wis., headed for somewhere near Cleveland; the plane had also planned to land in Gary, Ind., to refuel, Langford said.

Billed as the world's largest gathering of recreational aviators, AirVenture, a fly-in and convention of the aircraft association, attracts more than 10,000 airplanes and nearly 250,000 aviation enthusiasts from around the world.

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