Apparent wrecked plane found near MahnomenA private pilot spotted a downed plane late Tuesday afternoon east of Mahnomen, Minn., in a remote, wooded site, said Mahnomen County Sheriff Doug Krier. A deputy confirmed the wreckage but could not identify the plane from the air as that of Andrew Lindberg, the former Hallock, Minn., man missing since Friday night flying across the general area.
By: Stephen J. Lee, Grand Forks Herald
A private pilot flying over Mahnomen and Clearwater counties spotted what appeared to be the wreckage of a plane late Tuesday afternoon in a remote wooded area 21 miles east of the city of Mahnomen, Minn., according to Mahnomen County Sheriff Doug Krier. It wasn't immediately clear if the apparent wreckage is in Clearwater or Mahnomen county.
Since Saturday morning, the state’s Civil Air Patrol has mounted its largest air search in recent memory for Andrew Lindberg, 32, formerly of Hallock, Minn.
He was flying Friday night from Lakeville, Minn., to Hallock to go deer hunting with his father, Bill, and others. The last contact he made was a text message from his cell phone to his father, who was waiting at the Hallock airport, saying he was over Staples, Minn., about 6:30 p.m.
The private pilot saw the tail fin of a plane sticking up out of a brushy, wooded site about 4:30 p.m. Tuesday, Krier said, and landed in Mahnomen to tell authorities. A deputy went up with the pilot to survey the scene and confirmed that it appeared to be a wrecked aircraft, though he could not tell what kind.
Lindberg,who only recently obtained a pilot's license, was flying a Piper Cherokee.
The site 21 miles east of Mahnomen would be pretty much in a line between Staples and Hallock.
The pilot who spotted the apparent wreckage was not part of the 18-aircraft Civil Air Patrol search involving 80 trained volunteers that flew over nine counties Tuesday, including Mahnomen, in the fourth day of the air search. The CAP effort also involved five ground crews that check out leads from aircraft crews.
Lindberg's text message Friday night bounced off a cell tower between Staples and Wadena, on what would be a pretty straight line between Lakeville and Hallock, CAP officials said.
The weather in the area on Friday night was not good flying weather, CAP officials have said, with clouds and some rain reported.
Minnesota Civil Air Patrol spokesman Al Pabon, spokesman for the Brainerd-based search effort, would only say that a search will continue today. He said he had no official comment about any wreckage found.
Because of the remote, forested, roadless location of the apparent wreck, with only a snowmobile trail nearby, and the onset of night, Krier said it was not possible to send out ground search parties Tuesday night. Deputies from Clearwater and Becker Counties will assist in the search Wednesday, he said.
The Rev. Bob Griggs, a Wadena pastor who is Lindberg’s uncle and is acting as a spokesman for the family, said Tuesday night that they weren’t making any comment until more was known about the reported crash site.
“We are all very grateful for the Civil Air Patrol and all the people who searched,” Griggs said. “We will continue to hope and pray for Andrew, keep him in our prayers. We will gather tomorrow and learn what has happened.”
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