Doctor Pens Farewell Minutes Before Mich. Plane Crash

Searchers found moving note in wreckage of plane crashed in Lake Michigan

July 28, 2010— -- Rescuers, searching for the bodies of four people presumed dead after their propeller plane crashed in Lake Michigan, found a heartbreaking memento -- a moving farewell penned by a doctor aboard the plane just moments before it fell out of the sky.

Floating amid the wreckage of the crashed Cesna, searchers found the letter in a waterproof medical bag belonging to Dr. James Hill – the handwriting virtually inscrutable to all but one person, Hill's wife Ann.

"Dear All," read the note. "We love you. We lost power over the middle [of] Lake Michigan and turning back. We are praying to God that all [will] be taken care of. We love you. Jim," read the note released by Ann Hill to the Morning Sun, a Michigan newspaper.

The crash occurred on Friday, while Hall was accompanying cancer patient Don Pavlik, the school superintendent in Alma, Michigan, to the Mayo Clinic in Minnesota. Pavlik, his wife Irene and the plane's co-pilot Earl Davidson, all from Alma, are all presumed dead.

The plane's pilot Jerry Freed survived the crash and was rescued Friday morning, several miles off the west Michigan coast.

Freed often used the plane to take stricken local patients to the clinic for care. The Coast Guard halted its search efforts over the weekend after concluding that it was unlikely anyone else had survived.

The plane took off from Alma about 9 a.m. Friday. Less than an hour later, Freed reported mechanical problems to the air traffic control tower in Minneapolis, according to the Federal Aviation Administration, which was investigating the crash.

Battling a strong headwind over the lake, Freed decided to return to Michigan and the passengers were prepared for an emergency landing, before the plane crashed.

The U.S. and Canadian coast guards provided helicopters and planes for the search. Coast Guard boats were joined by vessels from the Mason and Oceana County sheriff's departments and Michigan Department of Natural Resources and Environment, along with number of volunteer boaters.

Hall, 67, was a friend of Pavlik and a well respected community physician who had travelled overseas on volunteer medical missions.

Raised in rural Ohio, he earned his medical degree from Ohio State University and practiced in Gratior County, his wife told the Detroit Free Press, because of its small town values. He worked at local emergency room and was the medical director at a nursing home.

Calls to Ann Hill by ABC News went unanswered.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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