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3 victims named in fatal flight that took off from Alexandria

Three people were killed when a plane that took off the from the Alexandria airport on Saturday, Aug. 7, crashed near the Twin Cities in Minnesota.

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Jim Edney and his wife, Deborah, on a trip to Alaska in 2019. (Contributed)

Three people were killed when a plane that took off from the Alexandria airport on Saturday, Aug. 7, crashed west of Minneapolis in the Carver County town of Victoria.

Jeff Golberg of Alexandria identified the victims as Dr. James Edney of Omaha, Neb., along with Edney’s stepson, Jacob Mertes, and Mertes’ wife Sara Mertes.

The couple had been visiting the home of James and Deborah Edney on Lake Miltona north of Alexandria, Golberg, a friend and fellow pilot of Edney's, said in an interview.

Jacob, 42, and Sara Mertes, 37, were about to return to their home in Libby, Mont.

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Sara and Jacob Mertes in 2018. (Contributed)

Golberg said James Edney, 72, was well known among the Alexandria pilot community.

“Really a great group of people, very close,” Goldberg said of the Edneys.

There had recently been a large family gathering, including Jim Edney’s siblings, at Lake Miltona, where Edney had spent time since he was a child.

Golberg said Jim Edney was an experienced pilot and that they had flown together for about 20 years and called the death’ “devastating.”

Funeral arrange for Edney were pending with John A. Gentleman in Omaha.

The plane was headed to Eden Prairie's Flying Cloud Airport when it crashed.

The National Transportation Safety Board said on Sunday, Aug. 8, that three were on board the plane, with no survivors.

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According to information posted on the city of Victoria's website, the plane crashed about 5:44 p.m., Saturday, Aug. 7, after the city of Victoria and Carver County Sheriff’s Office received reports of an airplane crash in Victoria in the vicinity of Rose Street near downtown.

The small plane crashed into a house at 7956 Rose St., and caught fire. A family was at home when it crashed but there were no injuries reported by those in the house or on the ground.

The medical examiner will investigate the cause and manner of death and identities of those killed. The investigation of the airplane crash will be led by the National Transportation Safety Board.

The NTSB said on Twitter that it is investigating the crash of a Mooney M20M airplane, which is a single-engine plane, at Victoria. On Sunday, the NTSB confirmed three people had been killed in the crash.

Information from FlightAware.com shows the plane took off from Alexandria Municipal Airport's Chandler Field at 4:56 p.m. and was in the air for 52 minutes. Records show the plane was owned by Edney.

According to the NTSB, investigators will be to request radar data, weather information, air traffic control communication, airplane maintenance records and the pilot’s medical records. Wreckage was being removed Sunday and taken to a secure facility for examination. Video of the crash is also being reviewed by the NTSB, which expects to issue a preliminary report in about 12 business days.

Reach Jeff Beach at jbeach@agweek.com or call 701-451-5651 (work) or 859-420-1177.
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