Parkers Prairie Plane Crash: Preliminary Findings Released - Valley News Live - KVLY/KXJB - Fargo/Grand Forks

Parkers Prairie Plane Crash: Preliminary Findings Released

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Updated 3/4 at 7:45pm

The National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) has released preliminary findings regarding the February crash that killed pilot Adam Menze of Ottertail.

The NTSB says the last contact with Menze happened about 15 minutes before the crash near Parkers Prairie when Menze called his brother to check landing strip conditions.

The sky was clear and the winds were light. A witness reported hearing a "popping" sound like an engine backfiring followed by the sound of the crash.

 These findings were just the first step, and the cause of the crash remains under investigation.


Updated 2/21 at 2pm


The Otter Tail County Sheriff's Office has confirmed the identity of the pilot killed in a small plane crash Wednesday night.  The pilot was 41-year-old Adam R. Menze of Ottertail, Minnesota.  Menze was flying a Maule MXT-7 Starcraft.

Thursday morning, the Federal Aviation Administration arrived at the crash scene to begin the investigation.

Adam Menze's wife, Rhonda, spoke with Valley News Live about her husband.

Menze was the owner of Quiet Waters Engineering, Inc and the firm has 3 locations; Fargo, Ottertail, Minn., and Detroit Lakes, Minn. Wednesday night, Menze was flying to Peoria, Illinois for work when his plane went down in Otter Tail county, Minn.

Menze has had his pilot license since 1992 and flying was a hobby and also a necessity for work.

Rhonda shared with Valley News Live that Adam was a father of 6 children ranging from ages 4 months to 10 years old. At this time, a memorial fund has not yet been set up.


Updated 2/20 at 2am


The Otter Tail County Sheriff's Department has confirmed to Valley News Live that it was a Minnesota man who was killed in the single occupant plane crash. His name is being withheld pending the notification of the family.

Gayle Snook and his father were first on the scene when the plane crashed in their field. 

"I heard the plane come over, and it back fired and it sounded like a crop duster, and I heard a big crash and I didn't know what it was. So I went up and asked my dad if there was a bunch of junk laying up in the driveway, because I seen there was a bunch of junk on the driveway, and we went down and seen that the plane had crashed into the trees." Gayle tells Valley News Live.

He also said when they first heard the loud crash, to him it sounded like the house was blowing up. "It was all smashed up, pieces laying all over in our field." Gayle continues. "It bounced in the field then went in the trees. There's more parts to the East of the house, we got a tire about 30 yards from the house."

Other than pieces of the plane Gayle also found items from the pilot. "I found a shoe and a hat, and a lunch box. I didn't go closer to the plane because you could smell the jet fuel really bad."

Gayle called Otter Tail County Sheriff's Department. He says he doesn't think that the dark night was the cause of the crash. "I think it was mechanical problem with the plane the way it backfired when it came over the house." Gayle guesses.

The Federal Aviation Administration will fly to the crash scene in the morning to begin the investigation.


UPDATED 2/20 at 9:13pm


One person is confirmed dead after Federal Aviation Administration authorities out of Chicago say the small plane went down about eight miles northeast of Parkers Prairie, Minnesota, around 6:30pm Wednesday evening.

Parkers Prairie is east of Fergus Falls in Otter Tail County.

Sheriff's deputies and emergency crews have been on the scene, but have not provided any further details. A Valley News Live Crew is expected to arrive there shortly; we'll provide any new information as soon as we get it.


Original Story


Otter Tail County Sheriff Department is confirming a small plane crash north of Parkers Prairie, Minnesota.

No reports of injuries or other details at this time.

We have a crew on the way.


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