VICTORIA (Minn.) — Investigators claim that crucial pieces of a single engine plane piloted in Nebraska by a surgeon died in flight just before it crashed westwards of Minneapolis.
Late Saturday afternoon, Mooney M20M crashed in Victoria and set fire to its contents. Victoria, which is home of approximately 7,300 people, is about 25 miles (40km) southwest of Minneapolis. The flames set fire to the house but no one was injured.
Relatives as well as employers identified the people who died as Dr. James Edney (72) of Omaha (Nebraska), who was piloting a plane; his stepson Jacob Mertes (42) and Jacob’s spouse Dr. Sara Mertes (37) both of Libby.
Mike Folkerts, an investigator for the National Transportation Safety Board, stated to reporters Sunday that the plane was flying from Alexandria in Minnesota when it crashed at Flying Cloud Airport near suburban Eden Prairie.
Folkerts explained that the pilot reached out to the control tower. He then made several heading changes, altitude deviations, and other adjustments from a stable, normal flight path while on final. “The last transmission occurred approximately 10 miles from the airport.”
He said the contact with the control tower was routine, and no distress call was made.
Folkerts explained that some pieces of the tail of the plane, such as the left elevator and left stabilizer, were found only a few blocks away. This indicated that they had fallen off in flight.
“Without an elevator and a horizontal stabilizer, the aircraft is not flyable,” he said.
He said that the sky was overcast with a ceiling of 1,100 feet (335 meters) and visibility of 9 miles (15 km).
Folkerts said the NTSB is looking into all factors that could have caused the crash, including the pilot, the aircraft and the environment. A preliminary investigative report will be available in approximately two weeks. A full report can take between 12 and 18 months.