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Sheboygan Falls family says entire farm could have been destroyed in plane crash

Posted at 6:20 PM, Jul 23, 2018
and last updated 2018-07-23 19:20:38-04

The owners of a dairy farm in Sheboygan Falls said they are grateful their farm wasn’t completely destroyed after a deadly plane crash Friday. 

Rachel Kroeplien’s parents own the Fly-By-Acres Farm off County Road O. 

“If it would have went that way and hit 50 feet that way, it would have taken out the barn right next to us here, so all 550 of our cows would be dead,” said Kroeplien. 

Kroeplien said her parents were on the farm Friday afternoon, cooking in their kitchen when it happened. 

“My dad just looked out the window and he’s like “that guy is flying really low.” And the next thing he knew there was this huge boom,” said Rachel Kroeplien.

The crash claimed the life of 50-year-old, Martin Tibbitts, of Michigan and injured two farm workers who were inside the calf barn at the time. 

Rachel’s uncle, Bob Kroeplien, is the Chief of the Town of Sheboygan Falls Fire Department. He was one of the first responders. 

“The female has been released from the hospital, but lost part of her ear and has got a lot of other damage to her body,” Bob said. 

The male employee is still in the hospital in critical condition. 

Dozens of calves were also killed as a result of the plane crash. At least a dozen had to be euthanized. The surviving calves are being monitored by the farm’s vet clinic. 

As far as what caused the plane to crash, it might take a while to get answers. 

In an email, a spokesperson for the Federal Aviation Administration told TODAY’S TMJ4, “It will take several months to a year to complete this investigation. The NTSB will post a preliminary report in several days, which will not draw any conclusions.”