UND mourns loss of flight instructor and student in plane crash

  • Updated: October 25, 2007 - 8:51 AM

The University of North Dakota's president said everyone associated with the school is "greatly saddened" by the plane crash that killed a flight instructor and a student pilot.

The University of North Dakota's president said everyone associated with the school is "greatly saddened" by the plane crash that killed a flight instructor and a student pilot.

The UND airplane crashed in a swampy area about 20 miles northwest of Little Falls, Minn., during a training flight from St. Paul to Grand Forks, the Todd County Sheriff's Office said Wednesday night.

An air crew from the Minnesota Wing of the Civil Air Patrol found the wreckage near Turtle Creek Township northwest of Browerville around 4:10 p.m., the patrol said.

The pilot, Annette Klosterman, 22, a UND flight instructor from Seattle, and Adam Ostapenko, 20, a junior aviation student from Duluth, were killed in the crash, authorities said.

"We have lost members of our University family," UND President Charles Kupchella, said in a statement issued Wednesday from the Grand Forks school, "two people, who, by all accounts, had good minds, good hearts and good talents.

"We extend our heartfelt condolences to their families and many friends at UND and elsewhere."

The plane had left St. Paul shortly before 9:30 p.m. Tuesday. Air traffic officials in Minneapolis last spoke to Klosterman and Ostapenko in a routine conversation at 10:15 p.m., in the St. Cloud area.

The plane was due to arrive in Grand Forks at 11:45 p.m. Tuesday, Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) spokeswoman Elizabeth Isham Cory said. The FAA sent out a notice at 1:46 a.m. Wednesday, alerting airports and law enforcement officials along the flight path when the pilot did not close out the flight plan that had been filed with the agency before takeoff, she said.

A ground search of all airports from St. Cloud to Grand Forks was conducted early Wednesday, UND said, and the Civil Air Patrol sent five aircraft at daybreak to continue the search.

Civil Air Patrol Capt. Al Pabon said more planes joined the search Wednesday afternoon, with volunteer pilots coming from several Minnesota cities.

Last December, two UND students were killed when a single-engine Cessna left the Crookston airport and crashed into a farm field. Friends said pilot Jacob Rueth, 18, of Orland Park, Ill., and passenger Jacob Allen Sundblad, 19, of Annandale, had gone to practice takeoffs and landings.

STAFF, WIRE REPORTS

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