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Crash of small plane claims life

One person is confirmed dead after a small plane broke

through the clouds Friday and crashed into a cornfield in Leon


The Goodhue County Sheriff's Office received the call at

about 2:18 p.m. Friday from a man who witnessed the plane's descent

into the cornfield off 100th Avenue, one mile west of U.S. 52.

Paul Gram, who rents a house on the property, said he heard

the plane before seeing it break through the clouds. He then lost

sight of it for a moment before hearing the impact.

The plane was flying low, he said, and he didn't see it pull up.

"I was hoping it was a crop duster," Gram said. "But the

speed and angle he was going at, I could tell it wasn't a crop


He called 9-1-1 before running to the site on the "slim

chance" someone was still alive and needed help.

There was no smoke or fire, he added, but the fuselage, the main body of the aircraft, was entirely compacted.

Most of the body of the plane was submerged in the soft ground, with only a wing visible from afar.

The Sheriff's Office and Wanamingo Fire and Rescue responded to the scene and erected a tent to protect the crash site until the Federal Aviation Administration arrived.

The FAA was unable to immediately determine from where the plane took off or where it was headed because the pilot didn't file a flight plan, according to the Sheriff's Office.

Authorities were also still trying to confirm if there were any passengers on board.

Representatives from the National Transportation Safety Board and the plane's manufacturer are expected at the scene sometime today.

Authorities said the plane will be transported to Lakeville for further investigation as officials attempt to determine whatmay have caused the crash.

cutline: Personnel from the Goodhue County Sheriff's Office and Wanamingo Fire and Rescue construct a canopy over a small airplane that crashed in a cornfield in Leon Township Friday afternoon. Much of the plane was buried in the soft ground and only a portion of it could be seen protruding above the corn. - staff photo by Cody Buckalew