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Pilot identified in small plane crash in central Minnesota

PARKERS PRAIRIE, Minn. -- One person is dead after a small plane crashed in a rural area near here Wednesday evening. A rural Parkers Prairie man heard what sounded like a crop-dusting plane with engine trouble about 6:25 p.m. Wednesday, followed...

PARKERS PRAIRIE, Minn. -- One person is dead after a small plane crashed in a rural area near here Wednesday evening.

A rural Parkers Prairie man heard what sounded like a crop-dusting plane with engine trouble about 6:25 p.m. Wednesday, followed by a loud crash.

When Gayle Snook went out to investigate, he discovered the wreckage of a plane in some trees about 90 yards from his home.

The Associated Press reported that Otter Tail County sheriff's officials on Thursday identified the victim as 41-year-old Adam Menze of Ottertail. He was alone in the plane.

Spokesman Tony Molinaro of the Federal Aviation Administration Great Lakes Region, which is based in Chicago, said the plane went down about five miles north of Parkers Prairie.

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Snook said after hearing the loud crash, he found debris on his driveway. He asked his father, who lives nearby, whether something had fallen off his truck.

When his dad said no, Snook checked out the area near his home.

Snook said it appeared the plane had touched down and possibly bounced from a nearby snowy field about 60 yards from his house.

"I was wondering if he (the pilot) wasn't trying to get onto the road because he was having problems with the plane, mechanical problems, but I don't know," said Snook, who reported the badly damaged single-engine propeller plane to the Otter Tail County Sheriff's Office.

Molinaro said there was no fire associated with the crash.

Brad Hopkins, a meteorologist with the National Weather Service in Grand Forks, said weather probably was not a factor in the crash.

"Conditions were pretty good. There was no wind; visibility was unrestricted," Hopkins said. "Basically just some high clouds -- nothing that would restrict any visibility for the pilot."

The temperature was about 12 degrees.

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The incident is under investigation by the National Transportation Safety Board and the FAA.

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