Investigation to be released in deadliest Minnesota air crash since Wellstone tragedy

Of 19 “major investigations” of aviation disasters listed by the National Transportation Safety Board, only one has not been solved: The 2008 crash in Owatonna that killed six East Coast executives and two pilots of the corporate jet in one of the worst air disasters in Minnesota history (18 were killed in a Hibbing crash in 1994).

It’s unusual to have an investigation last so long, but next week it will be closed, an NTSB official told me this afternoon. The NTSB will meet next Tuesday to consider the probable cause of the crash.

The Raytheon Hawker 800 jet was carrying customers to Viracon, an Owatonna-based glass company, that was trying to get a contract for windows for the replacement buildings at the World Trade Center site.

The plane landed, rolled down the runway, attempted a takeoff, got in the air, rolled over and crashed nose first into the ground. An eyewitness said the plane attempted to land, the brakes locked up and it attempted to take off.

A line of thunderstorms, which delivered a 72 mile per hour wind gusts, had passed through the area about an hour earlier but there didn’t appear to be any significant weather problems at the time of the crash.

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