UPDATE: 3 men from SE Michigan killed in Caledonia plane crash - KTTC Rochester, Austin, Mason City News, Weather and Sports

UPDATE: 3 men from SE Michigan killed in Caledonia plane crash

Posted: Updated:
Crash site in cornfield south of runway at Houston County Airport, Caledonia Crash site in cornfield south of runway at Houston County Airport, Caledonia

CALEDONIA, Minn. (KTTC) -- Three men from suburban Detroit, Michigan were killed Friday afternoon when their small plane crashed in a field southeast of the Houston County Airport near Caledonia.

The Houston County Sheriff's Office said Saturday the victims were Joel Alan Garrett, 79, of Troy, Michigan, Dale Edward Garrett, 49, of Berkley, Michigan, and John Paul Bergeron, 50, of Birmingham, Michigan.

A fourth man onboard the twin-engine plane is identified as Joseph Samuel Stevens, 61, of Bloomfield, Michigan.  Sheriff Doug Ely said Stevens was airlifted to Gundersen Health System in La Crosse by Med-Link Air with severe injuries.

A farmer found the wreckage about 4:30 p.m. Friday but the crash apparently happened more than two hours earlier.  The plane took off from Oakland/Troy Airport in Waterford at 12:07 p.m. EDT Friday and the air traffic control flight track shows the aircraft ascended to 10,000 feet and then to an altitude of 12,000 feet before dropping to the crash site at about 2:04 p.m. CDT.  The aircraft's speed was 158 mph when it went down.

The aircraft was a Piper Aztec twin-engine built in 1966; the Federal Aviation Administration registry shows it is owned by Garlam Aviation of Troy, Michigan. 

Joel Garrett was a prominent builder and real estate developer in the northern Detroit suburbs in Oakland and Macomb Counties; he was the owner and president of Ladd's, Inc. and also president of Garrett Associates, a commercial and residential construction firm.  Garrett's company has developed more than 2000 residential lots in the Detroit suburbs.

Federal officials from the NTSB and FAA are investigating.  The sheriff reported that his officers were assisted by Caledonia Police, Fire and Ambulance services, Eitzen Fire Department, the Minnesota State Patrol, Tri-State Ambulance, Med-Link Air Ambulance, the Minnesota Department of Transportation, Winona County Sheriff's Office, and the Houston County Highway Department.

If anyone has information regarding the crash or witnessed the crash, Sheriff Ely is encouraging calls to the Houston County Sheriff's Office at 507-725-3379.

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