GUTHRIE COUNTY, Iowa (KCCI) — Four people died in a small-plane crash in west-central Iowa after a student pilot attempted an emergency landing, Guthrie County authorities said.
The victims have been identified as Edward Ralph Anderson, 49, who was the pilot, Patrick Kellen, 36, Samantha Clark, 15, all of Le Mars, and Tyler Douvia, 28, of Merrill.
Guthrie County Sheriff Marty Arganbright said in a news release that Des Moines Air Traffic Control requested an emergency landing around 5 p.m. Friday for a single-engine aircraft at the Guthrie Center Airport.
The pilot had suffered a heart attack and a student pilot would be attempting the emergency landing, officials said. There were four people in the aircraft.
Emergency response personnel from Guthrie Center and Panora were sent to the airport, but the plane never arrived. Des Moines Traffic Control reported that the aircraft dropped off radar approximately 4 miles southwest of the Guthrie Center Airport.
The aircraft left Le Mars at 4:15 p.m. Friday, traveling to Osceola, Arganbright said.
The Le Mars Municipal Airport director confirmed that there were three men and a 16-year-old girl on board on their way to a hunting trip.
The Guthrie County Sheriff’s Office launched an extensive search and rescue mission to find the aircraft.
A Guthrie County resident reported the small-plane crash at approximately 6:30 a.m. Saturday in a cow pasture southwest of the intersection of 265th Street and Maple Avenue.
All occupants of the plane died at the scene, authorities said. The victims’ identities are not being released, pending notification of family members.
The bodies have been taken to the state medical examiner’s office. The crash site is being secured pending an investigation by the Federal Aviation Administration.
Emergency response personnel said the search was difficult because the plane went missing as the sun came down and pitch-black conditions limited their visibility, especially in forested areas of the rural county.
The Iowa State Patrol, the Iowa Department of Natural Resources, the Adair County Sheriff’s Office, the Dallas County Sheriff’s Office, the Carroll County Sheriff’s Office, the Panora Police Department, the Stuart Police Department, Guthrie County Emergency Management, Guthrie Center Fire and Rescue, Panora Fire and Rescue and numerous other law enforcement, fire and rescue agencies assisted in the search.