Michigan men were going hunting when plane crashed in SE Minnesota

  • Article by: JOY POWELL
  • Updated: November 2, 2013 - 6:44 PM

Investigators hope to talk with lone survivor about plane crash near Caledonia airport that killed three Michigan men.

Three Michigan men who died and another who was seriously injured when their small plane crashed Friday in southeastern Minnesota were flying to South Dakota to hunt, authorities said Saturday.

Killed were Joel A. Garrett, 79, of Troy; Dale E. Garrett, 49, of Berkley; and John P. Bergeron, 50, of Birmingham, according to the Houston County Sheriff’s Office.

Joseph S. Stevens, 61, of Bloomfield, Mich., was seriously hurt. He was flown by helicopter to Gunderson Hospital in nearby La Crosse, Wis. The hospital declined to release any information on him Saturday evening.

Craig Hatch, an investigator with the National Transportation Safety Board, arrived on the scene about 2 p.m. Saturday.

He learned that the flight had left Troy, Mich., and was headed to South Dakota, with a planned stop in Caledonia, but it wasn’t clear whether it was for fuel or a break, NTSB spokesman Peter Knudson said from Washington, D.C.

Hatch hopes to interview the survivor once he recovers, Knudson said.

A farmer had reported a possible plane in a field to the sheriff about 4:30 p.m. Friday. The crash came a mile south of the Caledonia Airport, in the southeastern tip of Minnesota.

So far, no witnesses have been located, the sheriff’s office said.

The pilot of the twin-engine Piper PA23 had communications with air traffic controllers, but investigators are unaware of any distress call, Knudson said. Hatch will review recordings between the pilot and controllers.

Knudson said officials would have a preliminary report on the crash available in about two weeks.

The Federal Aviation Administration also is investigating. The full NTSB investigation could take months.

 

Joy Powell • 612-673-7750

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