Cedar Rapids, Iowa News, Sports, and Weather
CLUTIER, Iowa One person is dead following a plane crash in Tama County. The plane crashed into a farm field at about 10:50 A.M. morning near the intersection of 245th Street and R Avenue, just west of Clutier.
The Federal Aviation Administration says that two people were onboard the single engine plane. The Tama County Sheriff's Department said that the pilot was killed in the crash. A passenger was taken to the University of Iowa Hospitals & Clinics burn center.
Witnesses said that the plane was flying low over the area before the crash. Tim Jones, a farmer who lives near the crash scene, said the plane seemed to be struggling to maintain altitude before passing over a hill. Jones said he heard the sound of the crash and immediately called 911 and went to the scene.
Jones said it appeared that the plane had struck power lines in an area near where a private air strip had once existed. Jones said the one injured person was calling out for help when he arrived,
that person was attempting to rescue the other victim and the aircraft was on fire.
Jones said he immediately called 911 was on the scene within two minutes.
"There was one man who made his way out of the plane and the poor other fellow, he was stuck in the plane and it was on fire. Of course, the power lines were wrapped around it and the REC (Rural Electrical Cooperative) was there and didn't want anybody to touch it because they could get electrocuted," Jones added.
Other neighbors said the crash happened near a private landing strip that hadn't been used in years.
Tama County Sheriff Dennis Kucera said investigators don't know yet if the plane was in trouble and attempting to land at the old strip or if the aircraft was simply too low and got tangled in power lines.
Some witnesses who saw the accident couldn't help with that.
"The one in the vehicle who saw the aircraft was traveling, so he couldn't hear anything. He didn't know if there was any type of problem with the aircraft," Kucera said.
Federal crash investigators were on the scene Wednesday and plan to return on Thursday.
Records show that the plane, manufactured in 1946, was registered to William A. Konicek of Traer, Iowa, in October. It wasn't immediately clear whether Konicek was aboard the plane when it crashed, and a man who answered the phone at his home declined to comment.
Tama County Sheriff Dennis Kucera said he was not releasing any information about the victims in the crash until later at the request of the victims' families.