Pilot of small aircraft dies in North Dakota crash

AP News
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Posted: Dec 02, 2016 3:11 PM

FARGO, N.D. (AP) — The pilot of a small airplane has died in a crash near Fargo, North Dakota.

The North Dakota Highway Patrol said the twin-engine Cessna 340 went down Thursday afternoon in a field not far from Interstate 29 along the banks of the Wild Rice River. The plane belonged to Weather Modification Inc., a private cloud-seeding company.

Patrol Capt. Bryan Niewind told the Bismarck Tribune (http://bit.ly/2ggBVCa ) that the 55-year-old pilot was dead when first responders arrived and that the plane was on fire and pieces of the aircraft were scattered on the ground. The pilot's name has not been released, pending notification of his family.

Niewind said the pilot reported an in-flight emergency after taking off from Hector International Airport in Fargo. He said investigators will examine the communications between the pilot and the air traffic control tower.

Niewind could not confirm if the pilot reported smoke or flames on the aircraft.

The crash comes just one week after a pilot initiated a "missed approach" and crash-landed in a field near the Moorhead airport on Nov. 23. The pilot and one of the six passengers suffered minor injuries in the crash.

The National Transportation Safety Board said the pilot lost sight of the runway.

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Information from: Bismarck Tribune, http://www.bismarcktribune.com