Body found in crashed plane near Hawley
By Forum News Service
HAWLEY, Minn. – A dead body has been found in a small airplane that crashed in a field in rural Clay County, Sheriff Bill Bergquist said. Investigators are working to determine if the wreckage was the small, single-engine airplane that went missing in flight from the Duluth area to Moorhead.Bergquist said at about 4:15 p.m. that a search plane had spotted a downed plane from the air, but officials weren’t sure at the time if it crashed or landed. Shortly before 5:30 p.m., the sheriff said authorities have found a body inside the plane, which crashed about four miles south of Hawley. Investigators are working to identify both the airplane and the apparent pilot, he said. The Clay County Sheriff’s Department has been helping with a search for the missing plane since the first call came in around 12:30 p.m., Bergquist said.Officers were searching near Hawley because based on the pilot’s route from Superior, Wis., to Moorhead, he would have most likely been near there around the time he went missing, Bergquist said.The sheriff’s department has planes, snowmobiles and vehicles searching in the areas where the missing plane could have crashed or landed, Bergquist said. The pilot, whose name has not been released, was traveling from Superior to visit family in Moorhead, Bergquist said. His family last heard from him when he was flying over Park Rapids, about 60 miles east of Hawley and 150 miles west of Superior.Bergquist speculated that the pilot may have tried to land the plane because of the fog.The fog also complicated search efforts, he said, as the aerial search didn’t start until mid-afternoon.