A.L. man’s small plane crashes

Published 9:52 am Thursday, July 18, 2013

By Dan Nienaber
Mankato Free Press

BEAUFORD — Investigators are saying an Albert Lea pilot and his passenger were lucky to walk away from a private plane that crashed in Beauford Township on Tuesday.

Lucas Elliott Schuster, 26, was flying the four-seat Piper Tri-Pacer plane when it crashed in a cornfield just south of County Road 4 at about 5 p.m., said Capt. Rich Murry of the Blue Earth County Sheriff’s Department. The field is about three miles southeast of Beauford, which is a small town about 10 miles south of Mankato along Highway 22.

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Schuster told deputies he and his brother, 19-year-old Jeremiah James Schuster, had taken off from the Wells Municipal Airport about 45 minutes before the crash. Lucas Schuster attempted to land on County Road 4 after the plane’s engine lost power but ended up in the cornfield instead.

The plane flipped on to its top during the crash landing about 300 feet south of the road. Schuster called the Blue Earth County Sheriff’s Department after the crash, but he reached a number that had voicemail. He left a message, but deputies didn’t hear it until Wednesday morning, Murry said.

Jeremiah Schuster was visiting from Australia and the brothers had planned a scenic flight around the area. Neither received any injuries in the crash.

Deputies, Federal Aviation Administration investigators and Lucas Schuster met at the crash site Wednesday. Murry said it took awhile for deputies to find the plane because it was flipped on its top and only a small portion of its wheels could be seen over the corn. The cause of the crash will be investigated by the FAA, Murry said. The plane was severely damaged and considered a total loss.

“From our end, there’s nothing more to investigate,” Murry said. “When we met with the FAA investigators, they did say it was amazing they walked away. They did a nice job landing.”