A small plane crashed into a house near a Minnesota airport, killing the pilot and his two passengers, but the two people sleeping in the house – and their cat – escaped unharmed, authorities said.
Hermantown Police said the Cessna 172 plane crashed into the second floor of the home at Block 5100 of Arrowhead Road south of Duluth Airport late Saturday night before coming to rest in the backyard.
The victims were identified as elementary school teacher Alyssa Schmidt, 32, of St. Paul, her brother, 31-year-old Matthew Schmidt, and the pilot, Tylor Fretland, 32, both of Burnsville.
Jason Hoffman, the owner of the home badly damaged in the crash, told Minnesota Public Radio that he and his wife Crystal only slept for about an hour before the plane tore through the roof over their bed.
Hoffman said his first thought was that the furnace had exploded, the Duluth News-Tribune reported.
“We could hardly see each other through all the insulation dust. I was able to grab a flashlight by the bed and the first thing I saw was an airplane wheel sitting at the end of our bed,” Hoffman said. “That’s when we looked outside and found that the entire back half of our house was gone.”
The couple found their cat unharmed in the basement and left the home, moving carefully to avoid live power lines that had been shot down by the plane.
The Hoffmans found the wreckage of the Cessna wedged between a truck and the garage.
“I’m still not sure what to think. It doesn’t seem real at all,” Hoffman said of the fatal crash. “We’re just lucky. The loss of life is heartbreaking. At the same time, we are grateful that we got through it.”
Hoffman said the home where his wife lived for seven years could be a total loss.
A spokesman for Independent School District 196 has confirmed to KSTP that Alyssa Schmidt teaches 3rd grade at Echo Park Elementary School.
“You were a kind and loving soul,” wrote colleague Carolyn Jahnke Manderfeld in a Facebook post mourning the loss of Alyssa. “Everyone loved you. You liked being a teacher. You truly loved your students and colleagues at Echo Park Elementary School. We are devastated and heartbroken.”
The Federal Aviation Administration and the National Transportation Safety Board will investigate the crash.
With postal wires
https://nypost.com/2022/10/03/plane-crashes-into-minnesota-home-killing-all-3-aboard/ A plane crashes into a Minnesota home, killing all three occupants