HERMANTOWN: Three Dead After Plane/Home Crash, Investigation Begins

Hermantown, Minn. — Three people are dead after their plane crashed into a Hermantown home. Now, the investigation begins into what led to this tragic collision.

It was just before midnight Saturday when a Cessna 172 plane disappeared from radar and surged through the second floor of a home, just inches from homeowner Jason Hoffman and his wife.

Miraculously, the two survived and were not injured — but the three plane occupants lost their lives.

The pilot identified as 32-year-old Tyler Fretland from Burnsville.

The two passengers were siblings, 32-year-old Alyssa Schmidt from St. Paul and 31-year-old Matthew Schmidt from Burnsville.

The wreck is being investigated by The Federal Aviation Administration and the National Transportation Safety Board. or (NTSB)
NTSB Air Safety Investigator, Aaron McCarter says, they’re looking at three things: the human… the machine… and the environment..

“The human, being the pilot. He was a commercial pilot flight instructor. He was familiar with the aircraft and had all of the necessary licenses and certifications.”

McCarter went on to say, “with the machine, we are looking at the technical and engineering aspects of the vehicle.”

He also explained that weather, air traffic control, and local geography are three big components to the investigation.

“On October 1, at around 11pm, the weather was very low ceilings with light rain and midst, which adds an additional layer of complexity to the investigation.”

According to McCarter, most of the case work takes place off-scene.

“The on scene portion is actually a very small part of the investigation. Most of the work is going to be taken out today, transporting it down to South Minneapolis this late afternoon and do a three/two dimensional layout on a hanger floor.”

The investigative team will spend the next 6 to 9 months examining this accident.

A factual report will be completed in 12 months and a probable cause will be determined by the NTSB board.

A preliminary report is expected to come out in about 10 days and that will have the findings determined thus far.

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