Initial Findings Released in Fatal Plane Crash Near Hawley - Valley News Live - KVLY/KXJB - Fargo/Grand Forks

Initial Findings Released in Fatal Plane Crash Near Hawley

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Update April 8

New information on a plane crash in Hawley, Minnesota that killed a former Moorhead man in late last month.  The National Transportation Safety Board's (NTSB) initial report says an inspection of the wreckage showed no sign of mechanical problems.

NTSB investigators say the victim, Kevin Ferris of Duluth, was not an instrument-rated pilot. Ferris was certified as a private pilot last November.

It was foggy at the time that the plane went down. Ferris was headed to Moorhead from the airport in Superior, Wisconsin.

Updated at 1:35 p.m.

As news as Kevin Ferris' death spread across the Valley, people who worked closely with him say he will be missed.

Ferris worked at KX for 25 years as a master control operator. His dad worked in the business as well as his sons, and friends and associates from his days at the station remember him as always smiling, nice, and dedicated.

Friend and former KXJB coworker Rich Mattern is still trying to come to terms with the news. "When you work at KX for so many years, you turn out to be a family," says Mattern.

In 2006, Ferris moved to Duluth, but that doesn't mean his KX family didn't keep in touch.

"On the 25th, I sent him a birthday note," says Mattern.

"This is where he spent his time," remembers Ron Barr, another former coworker of Ferris. "He has quite a legacy in the broadcast business."

"We'll certainly miss him. I have good thoughts working with him," says Barr.



Updated March 30 at 9:15 a.m.

The pilot involved in Friday's fatal plane crash south of Hawley has been identified as Kevin Ferris of Duluth, according to an official release from Clay County Sheriff Bill Bergquist.

Ferris was en route to Moorhead to spend time with his parents, Michael and Sharon Ferris of Moorhead.

The Clay County Sheriff's Office is still on the scene waiting for Federal Investigators that should arrive sometime today.


Updated March 29 at 11 p.m.

This will be a tough Easter holiday for one family after a plane crash south of Hawley Friday that killed the pilot. The plane was flying from Superior, Wisconsin and expected to land at Moorhead Municipal Airport. The Clay County Sheriff's Office says the Cessna 152, which is a single engine, two seater plane, crashed killing the lone pilot. The plane went down about 4 miles southeast of Hawley after the pilot contacted a family member saying fog was an issue and that he was going to turn around.

The Federal Aviation Administration is investigating this crash, trying to figure out what exactly caused the plane to go down. Clay County Sheriff's Bill Bergquist says they got a call that a plane that was set to land in Moorhead never made it. He says the pilot was in contact with family, and while over the Park Rapids area, he told that family member that the fog was too thick to travel in and that he may have to turn around. From there, it's unclear what happened. After getting the report of the missing plane, the Clay County Sheriff's Office pin-pointed a search area, but had to wait a few hours to do an air search because of the fog. They sent out cars and snowmobiles for ground searches, and when the fog cleared, they were able to send out a plane and find the wreckage.

Sheriff Bill Bergquist says, "From the timeline that we had, we felt that he could have been in this airport. We did get some kind of, I'm not sure how, but it dinged around the Hawley airport, so we thought maybe he was trying to land at the Hawley airport."

Sheriff Bergquist says he believes the pilot was heading to Moorhead to spend the Easter holiday with family. The sheriff says we can expect more details of the crash to come out Saturday. The pilot's body is being taken to the Ramsey County Medical Examiners office for an autopsy.


Updated March 29 at 5:48 p.m.

Clay County Sheriff Bill Bergquist confirms one person died in a plane crash south of Hawley, Minnesota.  The small plane was en route from Superior, Wisc., to Moorhead.

Friday afternoon, Clay County officials used planes for aerial searches and snowmobiles on the ground after family alerted them that the plane hadn't made it.

A plane was discovered in the area of 250th Street and 60th Avenue south of Hawley. Sheriff Bill Bergquist says the pilot was in communication via text message and mentioned the fog in the area shortly before crashing.

The crash is still under investigation. Valley News Live is on scene, stay with Valley News Live and valleynewslive.com for updates.


Original Story Posted March 29 at 2 p.m.

According to FAA spokesperson Tony Molinaro says a Cessna 152 Plane is missing. Local authorities are actively searching for the plane.

The Clay County Sheriff's Office and Hawley Police Department is among the law enforcement agencies trying to locate the aircraft. Sheriff Bill Bergquist says his department was contacted by a relative of the missing pilot.

Planes are doing aerial searches around the Hawley, Minn., area, and authorities are also searching on snowmobiles.

Sheriff Bergquist says his department is checking the possibility that the pilot landed at an alternate airport without giving notice.

The plane, owned by Superior Flying Services, was coming from Superior, Wisc., and was supposed to land at Moorhead Municipal Airport. 


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