17-Year-Old Killed in Chetek, Wis Plane Crash Grew Up Around Airplanes

17-Year-old Owen Knutson flying on April 1 Photo: Courtesy of Josh Banks, family friend
17-Year-old Owen Knutson flying on April 1

May 25, 2017 05:56 PM

Owen Knutson had grown up around airplanes. His father is a commercial airline pilot and the family had four airplanes. A family friend said he had been looking forward to going up with Knutson this weekend to tour recent tornado damage.  

Knutson, 17, was killed when the single-engine plane he was piloting went down near Chetek, Wisconsin, Wednesday.


A passenger in the plane, 18-year-old Hunter Gillett, of Cameron, was taken to a hospital in Eau Claire and later airlifted to Rochester, where he is listed as being in serious condition.

According to the Barron County Sheriff's Office, authorities received calls about the crash starting at about 6:30 p.m. Authorities found wreckage from the crash in the Red Cedar River, about 3 miles south of Chetek.

RELATED: 1 Killed in Plane Crash in Chetek Wisconsin

The teens were pulled from the water, according to authorities.

Knutson was pronounced dead at the scene. Federal Aviation Administration records show he was issued a pilot's license in February. 

Authorities said Knutson was piloting the two-seater fixed wing single-engine plane. Authorities said the plane took off from a private air strip south of Chetek. A search revealed the plane was registered in the Knutson family name.

The Barron County Sheriff's Office, the Chetek police and fire departments, the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources, the Chetek and Bloomer ambulances, the Sand Creek Fire Department, the Wisconsin State Patrol and Life Link Helicopter assisted at the scene.

The Barron County Medical Examiner's Office, the Federal Aviation Administration and the National Transportation Safety Board continue to investigate.


Rebecca Omastiak

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