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Pilot's 'joy ride' triggers search

A report of a possible airplane crash into Lake Geneva Monday afternoon triggered a search, interviews with witnesses and possible charges against the Colorado pilot.

The incident began shortly before 2 p.m. when the Douglas County Sheriff's Office received a call about a low-flying airplane that was spotted over Lake Geneva.

The caller lost sight of the airplane near the north end of the lake.

Douglas County sheriff's deputies, Alexandria police officers, the Minnesota State Patrol and the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources all responded to check around the lake but didn't find a downed airplane.

Deputies used a water patrol boat to check the lake surface but also came up empty.

Deputies spoke with a fisherman on the lake who confirmed that an airplane did fly over the lake at a very low altitude and came very close to the water, possible touching the surface with the airplane's wheels.

The airplane, according to the angler, regained altitude and continued north toward Lake L'Homme Dieu. He last saw it flying north toward the Krueger's Creek public access.

Authorities checked with the Alexandria Airport and learned that an airplane destined for Henning had taken off around the time witnesses reported seeing the low-flying plane.

The airport was able to make contact with the pilot and learned the plane was returning to the airport.

After the craft landed, deputies talked with the pilot, Hector Mason Brown, 31, of Glenwood Springs, Colorado.

Authorities said that Brown later admitted to not having any problems, mechanical or otherwise, while flying the airplane and intentionally flew just above the two lakes.

The matter remains under investigation by the sheriff's office for possible charges.