Three people were killed when a small plane crashed into a home shortly after taking off from Duluth International Airport over the weekend. Air traffic controllers contacted the Hermantown Police Department after the Cessna 172 dropped off the radar a little over a mile from the airport.
First responders located the crash site and discovered that the plane hit four powerlines before slamming into the second floor of the house and landing in the backyard.
The pilot, Tyler Fretland, 32, and both of the passengers, Alyssa and Matthew Schmidt, were pronounced dead at the scene.
Police said that two people were sleeping inside the home at the time, and they were both uninjured as the plane missed them by just a few feet.
“You can see that it literally went right over their head, within a couple feet, and they’re safe, a little shaken for sure, but at this time, they are safe,” Jim Crace, Hermantown’s police chief, told KQDS. “And our prayers and thoughts are definitely with the families of the folks that periled in this crash and the folks that are dealing with the aftermath of losing their home and being in total shock.”
“In this line of work, you just, you’re kind of prepared for the unexpected at all times, but you never expect that that’s going to be the call you receive that night that there was a plane crash,” Crace added.
Investigators with the Federal Aviation Administration and the National Transportation Safety Board are working with local officials to determine the cause of the crash.