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Charter jet crashes in Minnesota cornfield, killing all eight aboard

August 01, 2008|From the Associated Press

OWATONNA, MINN. — A small jet crashed Thursday while preparing to land at a regional airport in Minnesota, killing eight people, including casino and construction executives.

Authorities initially thought 10 people may have been aboard the Raytheon Hawker 800, which went down about 9:30 a.m. about 60 miles south of the Twin Cities.

But by late evening, Department of Public Safety spokesman Doug Neville said it had been confirmed that eight people were on board, including two pilots.

Seven people were dead at the scene. One died later at a hospital.

Severe weather had been moving through southern Minnesota earlier Thursday, but witnesses and the National Weather Service said the storms were subsiding at the time of the crash.

The charter jet, flying from Atlantic City, N.J., to Owatonna, a town of 25,000, went down in a cornfield northwest of Degner Regional Airport, Sheriff Gary Ringhofer said. The wreckage was not visible to reporters because tall corn obscured the crash site.

The debris was scattered 500 feet beyond the runway.

The National Transportation Safety Board will look at a variety of factors, such as the plane structure and weather, said John Lovell, the investigator in charge. A cockpit voice recorder and a flight management system were recovered and sent to be analyzed, the agency said.

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