Pilot makes emergency landing in Winsted, all passengers safe - KMSP-TV

Pilot makes emergency landing in Winsted, all passengers safe

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WINSTED, Minn. (KMSP) -

A pilot had to make an emergency landing into a field in Winsted on Saturday, elevating the heart rate of the pilot and the farmer whose field served as his landing pad.

All six people in the plane walked away safely, and farmer Wally Kerber told FOX 9 he was glad the plane landed where it did, even though the airport was not too far away.

"It was a good thing he landed out there," Kerber said. "Plenty of room, as long as he didn't crash."

Kerber has had nightmares about planes crashing into his Winsted farm over the years.

On Saturday morning, he came out to see his nightmare was just narrowly averted.

A pilot deftly maneuvered this Piper fixed-wing aircraft into an emergency farm field landing after he lost one of the engines in mid flight Friday evening.

"I just hoped that if plane went down, it didn't go into my building there, they were plenty far away," Kerber said.

FAA investigators as well as the McLeod County sheriff's office were on scene Saturday morning.

The plane is owned by West Metro Aviation was en route from Jamestown, North Dakota heading to nearby Buffalo.

A full load of six people, most of them employees of a local drilling company, were on board.

The failed engine combined with icing on the plane forced the pilot to act decisively.

It's unclear why he couldn't make it all the way to Winsted Municipal Airport, no more than a mile away, but he chose Kerber's soybean field.

A representative with the plane's ownership told FOX 9 that this is the kind of landing pilots practice over and over and are thankful for the outcome.

Kerber is no aviation expert, but thinks all the snow out here probably helped in providing a softer landing.

Winsted area pilots said the plane's landing was remarkable: The pilot was able to belly flop their aircraft and manage to avoid flipping it over. Over a year ago, an Eden Prairie man was killed with the small plane he was flying crashed in that very same area.

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