UPDATE: Authorities Still Working To Identify Plane Crash Victims [VIDEO, PHOTOS]
SAUK RAPIDS — Police say two people were killed when the small plane they were in crashed into a home in Sauk Rapids on Friday night.
Investigators say two people in a small single engine private plane were sight-seeing over the area when the plane crashed into the home at 731 Garden Place. The plane that crashed was a Brumwell RV-6 experimental airplane.
The identities of the victims are not being released at this time until family can be notified. Sauk Rapids Police Chief Perry Beise says one early identification has been made, but the second has continued to delay the announcement.
“I’m going to guess at some point the victims name will be released sometime tomorrow (Monday), as soon as the examiners office can release the details,” Beise says.
The Midwest Medical Examiner’s Office in Ramsey is working to identify the victims.
The homeowner, Jeff Hille, told the St. Cloud Times that his brother-in-law was in the house at the time but got out safe. Hille is a teacher and baseball coach at the Sauk Rapids-Rice High School.
Investigators with the National Transportation Safety Board and Federal Aviation Administration are still working to piece-together why the plane crashed.
Multiple eyewitnesses says the small plane appeared to have crashed after crossing the wake of another larger plane over Sauk Rapids. According to the FlightAware flight tracking website, an Allegiant Airline was in the area at the time of the incident. The Allegiant Airbus 319 left from Phoenix-Mesa and landed at the St. Cloud Regional Airport at 8:29 p.m.
Numerous witness accounts could indicate that the smaller plane may have gotten caught in the larger plane’s wake turbulance. St. Cloud Regional Airport Director Bill Towle says wake turbulance forms behind an aircraft as it goes through the air.
Sauk Rapids resident Courtney Breth lives near the crash scene. She says she was at her neighbor’s pool with her kids when a bigger airplane flew over heading towards the St. Cloud Regional Airport. She says she then saw a “little, white airplane” and within seconds, it came around the big airplane and “got stuck in the back wind or whatever.” She says it did a turn and then “went straight down.”
The crash into the home created a large fire and thick, black smoke in the surrounding area.
Hundreds of bystanders watched as emergency crews roped-off a several block area and responded to the scene.
Check back for details on this developing story.
WJON’s Ashli Gerdes, Dan DeBaun, Dave Overlund, Alex Svejkovsky and Tim Lyon contributed to this report. The Associated Press contributed to this story as well.