Wind Storm Reported In Area Before Accident
At least seven people are reported lost following the Thursday
morning crash of a Hawker 800 on landing at Owatonna Degner
Regional Airport (OWA) in Minnesota.
FAA officials identified the flight as East Coast Jets 81,
inbound from Atlantic City, NJ. The flight originated early
Thursday morning from Lehigh Valley International Airport. East
Coast Jets is a charter company with a fleet of 11 jets, including
four Hawker 800s, according to its Web site.
Officials say seven people are confirmed dead, with two others
missing. A 10th victim was taken to a nearby hospital, but their
condition is unknown.
According to the St. Paul Pioneer Press, an aircraft was
reported off the runway at OWA at approximately 9:46 am, about 20
minutes after fierce winds came through the area, part of a strong
band of thunderstorms that swept through southern Minnesota in the
early morning hours.
Owatonna city engineer Jeff Johnson said he's not sure if the
accident was connected to the "really bad" thunderstorm, however.
"There were lots of trees down. There's a lot of damage," Johnson
said. "We don't know if the plane went down in the windstorm and it
didn't get reported until 10 to 10."
Cameron Smith, a mechanic and licensed inspector at local FBO
Rare Aircraft, said he talked with the accident aircraft's pilot on
UNICOM as the aircraft made a "standard approach" to land at
"It didn't sound like there was a problem whatsoever," Smith
said. "He said they needed fuel and I told them where to park."
Smith said there was no post-impact fire. "I saw a wreck. It's a
mess." Smith said. "You'll never forget it."
The passengers onboard the accident aircraft (ype shown above)
were flying to Owatonna for a meeting at Viracon Inc., an
Owatonna-based glass fabrication plant, according to a company