Hibbing, MN Commuter Plane Crashes, Dec 1993



Hibbing, Minn. (AP) -- A commuter plane flying through fog and freezing rain slammed into a hillside about a mile short of the local airport, killing all 16 passengers and two crew members.
The weather at the time of the crash was foggy with freezing drizzle, and visibility was limited to about a mile, authorities said.
The Northwest Airlink twin-engine turboprop disappeared from radar screens just before 8 p.m. Wednesday, a Federal Aviation Administration spokesman said. It crashed moments later on a snowy mound of mining waste near a city park.
Sheriff's deputy Bill Hanegman, riding a snowmobile, found the wreckage about 40 minutes after the plane was reported overdue.
"The plane was demolished," he said. "The fuselage is so compressed nobody could have made it."
It apparently bounced or skidded before coming to rest upside down, broken in three pieces and resting on the side of a 150-foot hill with all but one of the bodies inside.
There was no sign of an explosion, but debris was scattered over about 50 yards of snow-blanketed ground, police said. Wrapped Christmas presents were strewn among the crumpled wreckage.
The flight was en route from Minneapolis to Hibbing, a distance of about 200 miles. It was operated for Northwest by Express Airlines II, Inc.
The plane was two to three miles from the Hibbing airport at an altitude of 7,500 feet when it disappeared from radar, said FAA spokesman Mort Edelstein. Northwest spokesman Jon Austin said the crash apparently occurred during the plane's approach.
"The last thing the controller saw was a plane dropping off the scope,"
Edelstein said.
Robert Corcoran, operations officer with the FAA in Chicago, said controllers said they received no distress call from the plane.
Investigators from the National Transportation Safety Board were dispatched to investigate the crash.
Officials said the weather may have posed problems including icing, the formation of ice on an airplane's wings that can impair flying. But they added that the plane, a British Aerospace Jetstream 31, was designed to fly in rough winter weather.

Daily Globe Ironwood Michigan 1993-12-02

List of Casualties.
Pilot Capt. MARVIN S. FALITZ, 42, Burnsville, Minn.
First Officer CHAD A. ERICKSON, 25, Dassel, Minn.
BERNICE ANGELO, 70, Hibbing, Minn.
GEORGE ANGELO, 72, Hibbing, Minn.
CHARLOTTE COMBS, 40, Britt, Minn.
KENNETH COMBS, 40, Britt, Minn.
WILLIAM GRIFFITH, 43, Alpharetta, Georgia.
DAVID HALTEMAN, 44, Pickle Lake, Ontario.
THERESA HETTINGA, 59, Modesto, Calif.
EVERETT MOORE, 26, Pickle Lake, Ontario.
RICHARD DELAK, 53, Anchorage, Alaska.
ROBERT TIBURZI, 62, Hibbing, Minn.
WILLIAM VALERI, 52, Hibbing, Minn.
CRAIG STERLE, 31, Hibbing, Minn.
PATRICIA BURNS, 47, Grand Rapids, Minn.
TROY TRUJILLO, 11, Palmdale, Calif.
ROCHELLE THACKER, 47, Santa Ana, Calif.