Authorities say that 75-year-old Claude Sonday, the owner of Galt Airport, has been identified as the pilot killed in a plane crash near Wonder Lake Friday.
McHenry County Coroner Dr. Michael Rein said that an autopsy was performed Tuesday on Sonday, who was a Bull Valley resident.
The McHenry County Sheriff’s Office, Wonder Lake Fire Protection District and Hebron-Alden-Greenwood Fire Protection District responded around 5:15 p.m. Friday to Galt Airport, 5112 Greenwood Road in unincorporated Wonder Lake.
The McHenry County Sheriff’s Office said they received a call for a single airplane crash near the airport.
The crash involved a model EA-300LC plane, which was owned by Sonday, the sheriff’s office said and records showed.
Firefighters at the scene reported the plane was approximately a quarter-mile east of the runway up against a tree.
Sonday, who was the sole occupant of the plane, was pronounced deceased at the scene, according to the sheriff’s office.
Firefighters and paramedics initially requested a LifeNet medical helicopter to the scene but later canceled it.
The McHenry County Sheriff’s Office said they contacted the National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) and Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) to continue the investigation.
A spokesperson for the NTSB told Lake and McHenry County Scanner that investigators were on site Saturday collecting information.
The crash occurred approximately a half-mile east of the airport in a wooded area, the spokesperson said.
Federal authorities removed the aircraft and transported it to an offsite facility for further analysis.
Sonday became the official owner of Galt Airport after purchasing it with his wife in 2013 at a foreclosure auction.
“Words cannot fully express our profound sadness at the loss of our friend and owner of Galt Airport, Claude Sonday. He will be missed greatly by all who knew him. We will share information regarding service arrangements as it becomes available,” the airport said in a statement on social media.
FAA records show Sonday’s aircraft crashed “under unknown circumstances.”
A preliminary report on the incident is expected in two to three weeks, the NTSB spokesperson said.