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Authorities Confirm Three Dead In MN Plane Crash

December 12, 2005, 10:00 PM by Matt Belanger

Authorities Confirm Three Dead In MN Plane Crash
Authorities have now released the names of those killed when a single-engine plane crashed in Lincoln County Minnesota. They are: 78-year-old Arthur Johnson and 77-year-old Maryann Johnson both of Eden Prairie. Also, 50-year-old Mark Johnson of Chaska was also killed.

The Civil Air Patrol used a signal from an ELT, or emergency location transmitter, to find the plane southeast of Ivanhoe. All planes have this piece of equipment onboard that automatically sends out a distress signal when the aircraft experiences a heavy impact.

"They found that at a quarter of one, quarter of two this morning," said Lincoln County Sheriff Jack Vizecky.

But once investigators located the crash site, they faced another problem. When they found the 2005 Cirrus, authorities weren't sure if an explosive designed to release a rescue parachute had discharged.

"There's an explosive charge that sends that parachute up, that hampered the investigation to some degree," Vizecky said.

Once it was safe, emergency workers examined the wreckage and determined that all three people on board died in the crash.

"It was surprising it was close to home," said Doug Possail.

Possail lives less than a mile from the crash; he used his tractor to put a tarp over the wreckage.

"I just went down and covered the plane, had the tractor down there and covered the plane," Possail said.

The cause of the crash has not been determined, but neighbors report low-visibility last night along with freezing temperatures.

"It was kind of foggy with a little bit of drizzle," he said.

But it could be a while before investigators know if weather played a role.

"I expect the FAA and the National Transportation Safety Board will be back tomorrow, they will mark it and then there will be an attempt at removal of the wreckage," Vizecky said.

The company that builds the SR-22, Cirrus Design Corporation, has reported five safe landings using the parachute method where people walked away. But, at this point, it's still unclear if the pilot had activated the parachute, or if it was released when the plane hit the ground.

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