A Minnesota man with 23 years of pilot experience was killed Thursday in a single-engine crash in northern La Crosse County.
Loren Larson, 56, of Kerkhoven, left the airport in Willmar, Minn., at 10:23 a.m. bound for Appleton, Wis., with a planned stop at the La Crosse Regional Airport to pick up a passenger, according to the La Crosse County Sheriff’s Department. The flight time was scheduled for one hour and 12 minutes.
At 11:37 a.m., the plane was flying 181 mph at 4,700 feet, according to its flight log. It dropped 1,200 feet in two minutes and was last recorded traveling 192 mph over Olson Road near Holmen.
Minneapolis Air Traffic Control alerted local authorities of the lost plane at 12:13 p.m., according to the sheriff’s department. Authorities used a signal from the pilot’s cellphone to narrow the search near Stevenstown.
You have free articles remaining.
About 40 searchers from multiple agencies combed a wooded 4-square-mile area until about 6:15 p.m., when they discovered the downed Mooney M-20 plane and Larson’s remains in a cornfield at N6971 Hwy D. near Holmen. There were no passengers aboard.
A National Transportation Safety Board investigator was on scene Friday to begin determining what caused the crash by documenting the wreckage and collecting evidence. He will review radar data, the flight plan and air traffic control recordings before the wreckage is removed and examined off-site.
Investigators also will review the plane’s maintenance record and compile a 72-hour background on the pilot, NTSB spokesman Eric Weiss said.
A preliminary report is expected within 10 days. A final report with the cause of the crash could take up to one year.