PLANE CRASH UPDATE: Officials ID body of missing pilot in northwest MinnesotaThe body of Andrew Lindberg was found this morning with his downed plane in a remote, wooded area about 24 miles east and 6 miles south of Mahnomen, Minn.
By: Stephen J. Lee, Grand Forks Herald
CLEARWATER COUNTY, Minn. — The body of Andrew Lindberg was found this morning with his downed plane in a remote, wooded area about 24 miles east and 6 miles south of Mahnomen, Minn.
Deputies from Clearwater and Mahnomen counties reached the plane this morning, said Jeanine Brand, Clearwater County's state's attorney and public information officer.
The crash site is near the intersection of state Highway 200 and Height of Land Forest Road, a few miles southeast of Roy Lake, Minn.
As of 11:30 a.m. today, National Transportation Safety Board officials were en route to investigate the crash. Lindberg's family was at the scene, including his wife, Kate, and his father, Bill Lindberg, said Mahnomen County Sheriff Doug Krier, who briefed the media at about 11:30 a.m.
Since Saturday morning, the state’s Civil Air Patrol had mounted its largest air search in recent memory for Lindberg, 32, formerly of Hallock, Minn.
He was flying Friday night from Lakeville, Minn., to Hallock to go deer hunting with his father, Bill, and others. The last contact he made was a text message from his cell phone to his father, who was waiting at the Hallock airport, saying he was over Staples, Minn., about 6:30 p.m.
A Minnesota State Patrol helicopter was sent up this morning to help steer ground crews to the crash site, which is where the counties of Clearwater, Mahnomen and Becker all converge.
A private pilot from Walker, Minn., spotted the plane, noticing the tail fin sticking up out of a brushy, wooded site about 4:30 p.m. Tuesday. The pilot then took up Mahnomen County Sheriff's Deputy Paul Brehm, who confirmed the crash site. The appearance of the wreckage told the sheriff's department that there didn't appear to be any hope of a rescue Tuesday night, Krier said, and it also would not have been safe to attempt to get to the remote site at night.
The helicopter directed ground crews to the site this morning, who had to get in on foot. A logging tractor had to be used to lead in searchers. Officials identified Lindberg's plane by numbers on its tail, Krier said. It seemed evident that Lindberg died on impact, Krier said.
The private pilot who spotted the apparent wreckage was not part of the 18-aircraft Civil Air Patrol search involving 80 trained volunteers that flew over nine counties Tuesday, including Mahnomen. The CAP effort also involved five ground crews that check out leads from aircraft crews.
Lindberg was a new pilot flying a Piper Cherokee. The text message bounced off a cell tower between Staples and Wadena, on what would be a pretty straight line between Lakeville and Hallock, CAP officials said.
The weather in the area on Friday night was not good flying weather, CAP officials have said, with clouds and some rain reported.
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