Amazon Executive Killed In Plane Crash On Mackinaw Island


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Amazon Executive Killed In Plane Crash On Mackinaw Island

By Jim Douglas

December 5, 2011 - On Saturday night just before 8 PM Thomas Phillips, 52, and Joseph Pann Jr, 29, departed St. Ignace, Michigan in a Piper Saratoga aircraft which was owned by Great Lakes Air Inc. for Mackinaw Island. The flight was to be just under 10 minutes.   

Search and rescue controllers at Coast Guard Sector Sault Ste. Marie, Michigan, were contacted by a Michigan State Police 911 dispatcher at 10:07 PM Saturday, after the dispatcher was called by a concerned family member reporting the men overdue. 

The Coast Guard launched a rescue boatcrew from Coast Guard Station St. Ignace which was on scene at about 11 p.m. aboard a 47-foot Motor Life Boat. They also directed the launch of a rescue aircrew from Coast Guard Air Station Traverse City, Michigan, which was on scene at about 11:30 PM aboard an MH-65C Dolphin rescue helicopter.

Initially the Coast Guard was unable to pick up the aircraft's emergency beacon signal (ELT), so specialists with the cellular phone provider of one of the men were using their towers to determine the possible path of his phone. Shortly before noontime on Sunday, a Coast Guard aircrew involved in the search effort received a signal from a 121.5 MHz emergency locator transmitter. When they investigated the transmitted signal, they found the plane wreckage about 100 yards from the shore and about three miles north of St. Ignace, Michigan. 

The aircrew passed the location to Michigan State Police and vectored land-based search crews to the wreckage. Crews confirmed it was the missing plane and that both men aboard were dead. Phillips of Kirkland, Washington, was an executive for Amazon Web Services. Phillips was flying to a home he owned on Mackinaw Island when the Piper Saratoga cashed on the shore of Lake Huron. Phillips was rated a private pilot for an airplane single engine land. Local authorities are saying the crash may have been weather related.  

Phillips was a long-time tech sector executive who spent almost 20 years with Microsoft before moving over to Amazon. Phillips helped run part of the cloud computing services with the online retailer. Amazon Web Services (AWS) is a collection of remote computing services (also called web services) that together make up a cloud computing platform, offered over the Internet by Amazon. The most central and well-known of these services are Amazon EC2 and Amazon S3. 

Launched in July 2002, Amazon Web Services provide online services for other web sites or client-side applications. Most of these services are not exposed directly to end users, but instead offer functionality that other developers can use. In June 2007, Amazon claimed that more than 330,000 developers had signed up to use Amazon Web Services.

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