River Search Continues After Small Plane Crash Kills at Least 1 in Anoka

October 14, 2017 01:04 PM

At least one woman is dead after a small airplane hit a power line and crashed on the Mississippi River between Champlin and Anoka Friday evening. 

Lt. Brent Erickson of the Anoka County Sheriff's Office said the single-engine Cessna took a nosedive when the pilot hit the power line and lost control of the plane. 

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The Federal Aviation Authority originally told the sheriff's office that at least three people were in the aircraft when it went into the water, but Erickson later said they did not know how many people were in the plane. 

Some witnesses boarded a personal pontoon and pulled the woman from the water, but she was pronounced dead at the scene. 

One witness said he saw a bright flash before the plane hit the water hard. 

LeRoy Kesler said the plane split into pieces and lost a wing before crashing.  

"There were about three or four pieces floating down the river," Kesler said. He added that no one appeared to escape the plane after it hit the water. 

Another witness, Jeremy Scott, said he was at Mississippi River Community Park in Anoka when he saw the Cessna flying 20 or 30 feet above the water. 

"I saw the guy in the airplane, and about five or 10 minutes later I started hearing sirens," Scott said. "I thought he was taking scientific measurements. There wasn't any sputtering. He wasn't gliding and the engine was running, but he looked very serious."

Erickson said authorities had recovered a few pieces of debris and knew the location of the plane, but dive teams may have a difficult time with recovery due to unusually high waters and a rapid current on the river. 

The National Transportation Safety Board will also send a representative to the area Saturday. Several law enforcement agencies will be investigating the incident. 

The Anoka-Champlin Fire Department, a Minnesota State Patrol helicopter and other first responders were at the scene of the crash, which was reported just before 5:45 p.m. 

Connexus Energy said more than 500 customers were without power near the area of the crash, and Chopper 5 video showed multiple downed power lines.

 

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