Charlotte dentist killed in plane crash, former patient speaks out

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BEAVER ISLAND, Mich. (WILX) - A Charlotte dentist died after crashing his plane on an island in Lake Michigan. News 10's Alani Letang talked with one of Dr. Donald Falik's former patients Monday.

Many people have told Letang it's a big loss for the community since the news broke online. 72-year-old Dr. Falik was leaving his home on Beaver Island.

"There isn't a person you can talk to in Charlotte that knew him that isn't going to have wonderful things to say about him," said Jennifer Fopma, a former patient of Dr. Falik.

Jennifer Fopma is Dr.Falik's former patient, who saw him for over a decade.

"He paid a lot of attention to detail, he would not do anything reckless. So I'm sure this was just a tragic accident," said Fopma.

Dr. Falik was killed in a plane crash around 7:45 PM Sunday night on Beaver Island which is west of Mackinac City.

Charlevoix County Sheriff's Office confirmed Dr. Falik was alone in the plane at the time of the accident.

An employee at the airport on the island described his plane as "struggling to climb" before the crash.

The US Coast Guard assisted in locating him in a heavily wooded area on the North West side of the island.

"And as soon as I saw 'local dentist in plane crash' I knew it had to be him," said Fopma

Fopma said Dr. Falik took his dentistry a step above the rest, which is what made coming to dentist appointments so much more enjoyable.

"He was wonderful, very kind. While he was my dentist, I adopted a daughter from Guatemala he and his wife came to my home and brought me The Velveteen Rabbit for her. Brought a gift for her, stayed and visited. I mean what doctor does that," said Fopma.

Fopma said she would like to let the family know how much he was loved in the community.

"He was just a beautiful person and I know it's got to be hard for him family right now. I hope it brings them comfort knowing what a great loss," said Fopma.

Authorities say the cause of the crash is unknown, but it's still under investigation.

ORIGINAL STORY: Charlevoix County Sheriff's Office has released the name of the man killed in a plane crash Sunday on Beaver Island.

72-year-old Don Falik of Charlotte was leaving the island in his plane when it crashed around 7:45 PM. Falik has a house on the island.

The sheriff's office confirmed that Falik was the pilot of the plane and the only person aboard at the time of the accident. One witness who works at the Peaine Township Airport described to police that the plane sounded like it was "struggling to climb," according to police. Falik's plane crashed in a heavily wooded area off Buff Kett Rd., according to police. The U.S. Coast Guard assisted in finding the plane.

The sheriff's office said the plane was in good condition and well kept. He was flying a Piper Fixed Wing Twin engine airplane, built in 1956. Police told News 10 that Falik is a dentist in Charlotte.

The investigation into the cause of the crash is still ongoing.