Heavy fog hampered first responders trying to locate plane crash scene Sunday evening
Cessna crash near Rochester International Airport
ROCHESTER, Minn. (KTTC) -- The fog was thick enough that commercial pilots had elected not to try to land at Rochester International Airport. Visibility was about a half-mile Sunday evening when the pilot of a small plane attempted a landing anyway, missing the runway and crashing and landing upside-down in a nearby field.
The single-engine Cessna was piloted by Scott Lebovitz, 23, of Owatonna, and was coming in from Green Bay, where the Minnesota Vikings had been playing the Packers earlier Sunday afternoon.
Alan DeKeyrel of Byron was one of three passengers. DeKeyrel is the former President of the Board for the Rochester Chamber of Commerce and the current president and founder of Corporate Web Services Inc. DeKeyrel is listed as the pilot of record, but was not actually flying the plane. Daniel Cronk, 36, of Byron and Cronk's 9-year-old son were the other two passengers.
Both DeKeyrel and Cronk were taken to Saint Marys Hospital in Rochester by Gold Cross. There's no word on the extent of their injuries. Rochester Deputy Fire Chief Steve Belau says, "they are very fortunate. This is a very lucky event to be able to pretty much walk away from."
The crash happened just northwest of the Rochester International Airport around Sunday around 6:30 p.m.
The Rochester Fire Department says Lebovitz was in communication with the airport and was coming in for a landing when he missed the runway. The plane ended up bouncing, flipping end-over-end, and finally landing upside down in a field near the intersection of County Road 8 and County Road 16.
One of the occupants of the aircraft were able to make a 911 call to emergency officials with a cell phone and guide them into the crash scene by observing vehicle headlights through the fog.
"Alan and three friends had attended the Vikings/Packers game and were returning from Green Bay when their plane crashed in heavy fog while trying to land," said a spokesperson for the DeKeyrel family, in a statement to reporters. "While Alan has been learning to fly over the past few months, he was not piloting the aircraft on this trip. We are very thankful that Alan and his friends all walked away from the crash with only minor scrapes and bruises. We are all very lucky and blessed and are enjoying this time as a family."
Federal Aviation Administration investigators from Minneapolis are reviewing what happened.
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