Crash of small plane into house investigated; 3 dead
HERMANTOWN, Minn. (AP) — Federal investigators hope to determine what caused a single-engine plane to crash into a house in northern Minnesota, killing three on board and narrowly missing two people asleep in the house.
Officials say the Cessna 172 Skyhawk went down shortly before midnight Saturday in Hermantown minutes after departing from Duluth International Airport.
Authorities on Sunday identified the victims as passengers Alyssa Schmidt, 32, of St. Paul, her brother Matthew Schmidt, 31, of Burnsville, and the pilot, Tyler Fretland, 32, of Burnsville.
Jason Hoffman told Minnesota Public Radio that he and his wife had been asleep on the second floor of their home when they were jolted by what sounded like an explosion. The plane tore through the roof above their bed, he said.
“We couldn’t hardly see each other through all the insulation dust. I was able to grab a flashlight next to the bed and the first thing I saw was an airplane wheel sitting at the end of our bed,” Hoffman said. “That’s when we looked out and noticed the entire back half our our house was gone.”
Hoffman said the wreckage of the plane wound up wedged between his truck and the garage.
The Hermantown Police Department was notified by the control tower at the Duluth airport after the small airplane had left radar and was believed to have crashed. The control tower advised the last location on radar was 1 to 1 1/2 miles south of the airport.
The Federal Aviation Administration and National Transportation Safety Board will investigate.