Winsted-Lester Prairie Journal, July 10, 2000

Pilot dies in small-plane crash near Brownton

By Lori Copler

Jacob Klein, 20, of South Haven, is dead as the result of a light plane crash near Brownton sometime late July 1 or early July 2.

The downed Cessna 152 was discovered in a soybean field on 90th Street between Orange and Nature avenues just northeast of Brownton at about 8:45 a.m. July 2 by a passing motorist.

The Brownton First Responders were dispatched to the scene and upon arrival, found Klein pinned under the main fuselage of the airplane. The Cessna 152 is a single-engine, two-seat light aircraft.

The McLeod County Sheriff's Department and Minnesota State Patrol secured the scene and summoned the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) and National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) to the scene, as well as the McLeod County medical examinar, Dr. Crystal Schlosser of Hutchinson Medical Clinic.

Schlosser told media gathered at the scene that the accident likely happened late Saturday or early Sunday morning.

"The ground underneath the plane was dry," said Schlosser. A thunderstorm dumped about an inch of rain in the area at about 4:30 a.m., and the dry ground under the plane indicates that the accident happened prior to the storm.

Schlosser also said there was no fire as a result of the crash, and no odor of fuel, which may indicate that the pilot may have run out of fuel and tried to land the plane in the field.

McLeod County Sheriff Wayne Vinkemeier also said that disturbance in the field indicated that the plane bounced at least once before it tipped onto its nose and crumpled.

The sheriff's office contacted local excavator Ted Rickert to come with a backhoe to help move the fuselage of the plane from Klein.

Because of the condition of Klein's body and having fiound no identification among the plane debris, the examiner's office had to rely on fingerprints to make a positive identification, which was made last Monday.

Assisting at the scene of the accident were the Brownton First Responders, sheriff's department, Minnesota State Patrol and the McLeod County Sheriff's Department.

The gravel road, 90th Street, was closed between Orange and Nature avenues for most of Sunday morning and into Sunday afternoon while the investigation took place and the wreckage was removed.

This is the second light plane crash that the Brownton Fire Department has responded to in its history.

In October 1987, the fire department responded to the crash of a Cessna 310 airplane that was enroute from Ogalia, Neb., to Crystal, Minn.

The plane nose-dived into a farm field just south of Brownton along Highway 15. Four people lost their lives in that crash.

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