A small airplane crashed soon after takeoff in western Minnesota, killing a bank executive and his brother, a longtime Medtronic employee, authorities said Monday.
The crash of the two-passenger aircraft occurred about 3:45 p.m. Sunday in a soybean field near 50th Street SW. on the northern edge of Montevideo, according to the Chippewa County Sheriff's Office.
Killed were Mark O. Schultz, of Sleepy Eye, Minn., and Steven J. Schultz, 51, of Brooklyn Center, the Sheriff's Office said.
Aviation records show that Mark Schultz was a licensed pilot.
Soon after takeoff, the plane turned left and the right wing "just went straight up, like it had caught a gust of wind" before crashing, a statement from the Sheriff's Office said.
Mark Borgerson, the airport's manager and an aircraft mechanic, said winds were gusting up to 18 miles per hour when the plane left the unstaffed airfield. While that wind speed is typically fine for flying, the gross weight of the plane was no more than 850 pounds.
"That's everything; the plane, the pilots, the fuel," said Borgerson, who described the aircraft as something between a typical general aviation plane and an ultralight.
Borgerson said he knows the plane well. He had been working on the 1986 T-Bird for some time for Mark Schultz and had just a few mechanical tasks left — none, he said, related to the plane's airworthiness.
Steve Schultz, of Brooklyn Center, worked at Fridley-based Medtronic. Mark Schultz was a vice president at First Security Bank in Sleepy Eye, the bank said Monday afternoon.
In a profile in 2009, the Sleepy Eye Herald-Dispatch reported that Mark Schultz grew up on a crop and livestock farm just west of Canby, Minn., one of four children. He graduated from Winona State University.
The article added that Mark Schultz followed his father's lead when he became a pilot. "My dad had a license, so my passion for it grew out of that," he told the newspaper.
Sherri Brindle said her brothers were out for a pleasure ride when they crashed.
"They were more than brothers, they were best friends," Brindle said. "They owned the plane together, and hunted and fished together all the time."
Brindle said Steve Schultz worked for Medtronic for more than 20 years, most recently as a senior technician focusing on deep-tissue treatments for epilepsy and Parkinson's.
"I can't believe we lost both of them," said Brindle, of Watertown, S.D., whose sister, Dawn Johnson, lives in Duluth. "Now we're the only ones left."