Guy wire clip seen as possible reason plane crashed in Michigan killing 23-year-old pilot

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Authorities believe pilot Martin died after he  hit a guy wire of a 1,000-foot tower in Midland County, Michigan

Authorities believe pilot Slade David Martin died when his Cessna crashed after it hit a guy wire of a 1,000-foot tower in Midland County, Michigan

A 23-year-old man died when the single-engine plane he was piloting crashed last Monday and caught fire in a mid-Michigan field, and may have hit a guy wire on a nearby tower.

Midland County Sheriff’s deputies were called to the scene just before 1:30 p.m. after a passerby saw the plane in flames in a Jasper Township field.

After a local fire crew extinguished the flames, the pilot’s body, later identified as Slade David Martin of Gratiot County, was found in the cockpit and he was pronounced dead at the scene, police said.

Martin was the sole occupant in the plane identified as a 1966 four-seater single-engine Cessna 182H model.

It was owned by Gateway Air Service, the maintenance and aviation support business located at the Clare Municipal Airport, according to Federal Aviation Administration records.

Sheriff Myron Greene said the initial investigation indicated the plane may have come in contact with a radio antenna tower or its supportive wires.

Two debris fields have been located, one near the tower and the other in a field a short distance away where the fuselage came to rest, Greene said.

The 1,000-foot tower, built in 1995, is owned by Family Life Broadcasting System.

The FM station did not return a request for additional information.