Heart problem factor in Easton plane crash

Published 9:29 am Wednesday, February 19, 2014

ST. PAUL — The National Transportation Safety Board said a pilot’s heart problem likely contributed to his fatal plane crash in Faribault County last spring.

Forty-four-year-old Jeffrey Dean Zabel of Mankato died May 5 when his plane crashed while performing aerobatics near a friend’s farm in Easton

In its investigation, the NTSB said Zabel had at least one episode of chest discomfort and palpitations, some heartburn and at least one episode of dizziness while performing aerobatics previously.

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An autopsy showed significant heart disease.

The report said Zabel likely became incapacitated due to “an acute cardiac event” and lost control of the plane.

Zabel, pronounced dead at the scene by Easton and Wells responders, was reportedly flying a fixed-wing, single-engine Steen Skybolt.

Here is a link to one of the Tribune’s stories about the crash last May.