8 killed in crash of small airplane
Was set to land in Minnesota
OWATONNA, Minn. - A small jet crashed yesterday while preparing to land at a regional airport in Minnesota, killing eight people, including several casino and construction executives.
Authorities initially thought nine people may have been aboard the
Seven people were dead at the scene. One died later at a hospital.
Atlantic City Mayor Scott Evans said those on board included two high-ranking executives from Revel Entertainment, which is building a $2 billion hotel-casino project in Atlantic City, and several employees of Tishman Construction. He didn't know their identities, but said Revel CEO Kevin DeSanctis was not on board. Tishman is helping with the Revel project, a company spokesman said.
The charter jet, flying from Atlantic City to Owatonna, a town of 25,000, went down in a cornfield northwest of Degner Regional Airport.
Cameron Smith, a mechanic at the airport, said he spoke by radio with the jet's pilot just minutes before the crash. The pilot was about to land and was asking where he should park for fuel, Smith said.
He ran to the crash scene to see if anyone could be helped. "There was no fuselage," he said. "There were just parts."
The crash happened as severe weather battered parts of southern Minnesota. An hour before the accident, a 72-mile-per-hour gust was reported in Owatonna. The worst of the storm had passed when the jet went down. It wasn't clear if weather was a factor.
The jet had been scheduled to land at 9:42 a.m., then take off at 11:40 a.m. for Crossville, Tenn.