One person killed in small-plane crash at Crystal Airport

  • Article by: SARAH LEMAGIE and MARY LYNN SMITH , Star Tribune staff writers
  • Updated: June 17, 2009 - 12:09 AM

Crystal Deputy Police Chief Stephanie Fealy said emergency workers still on the scene early today didn't yet know whether other people were on board.

One person was killed when a single-engine plane crashed and burst into flames as it was landing late Tuesday at the Crystal Airport.

Crystal Deputy Police Chief Stephanie Fealy confirmed that one person, apparently the pilot, had died, but said emergency workers still at the scene early to day didn’t yet know for sure whether other people had been on board. There were no survivors, she said.

The plane “pretty much” disintegrated on impact as it landed after flying in from the north just after 10 p.m., she said. The airport, which straddles the border between Crystal and Brooklyn Park, typically closes between 10 and 10:30 p.m., Fealy said.

Dave Anderson, who flies a helicopter for KARE 11 television news, told a Star Tribune reporter at the scene that he was inside a hangar when the plane came down, and ran out to see “a ball of flames.”

A few minutes after the crash, there was a small explosion in the wreckage that made it hard for emergency responders to approach, he said.

The fire was quickly extinguished. Just after 11 p.m., strands of smoke still rose from the spot where the plane went down, which was circled by emergency vehicles whose flashing lights were reflected in rain puddles.

The weather was “pretty bad” and rainy at the time of the crash, but it was not yet known if that was a factor in the crash, Fealy said.
Fealy and Pat Hogan, spokesman for the Metropolitan Airports Commission, which operates the small-craft airport, said other details, such as the pilot’s identity and where the plane was coming from, were not available.

Crystal and Robbinsdale police, the Hennepin County Sheriff’s Department and the West Metro Fire-Rescue District responded to the accident. The National Transportation Safety Board will investigate the crash, Fealy said.

slemagie@startribune.com • 952-882-9016

mlsmith@startribune.com • 612-673-4788

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