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Pilot killed after airplane crashes into Upper Whitefish lake

One person died and another was injured after a small airplane crashed Sunday into Upper Whitefish Lake near Crosslake.

The crash was reported to the Crow Wing County Sheriff’s office at 9:52 a.m., and witnesses indicated there were two occupants in the plane.

The pilot, a 55-year-old Crosslake man, was pronounced dead at the scene after resuscitation efforts were unsuccessful, the Crow Wing County Sheriff’s office reported. The passenger, a 61-year-old Crosslake man, was treated at the scene before being transported to Cuyuna Regional Medical Center for serious injuries. The sheriff’s office was withholding the names of the pilot and passenger as of Sunday afternoon while family members are notified.

Roland Herwig, Federal Aviation Administration spokesman in Oklahoma City, said the airplane was a Skystar Kitfox 4 fixed-wing, single-engine plane.

“It appears to be an plane you build yourself,” Herwig said.

Herwig said he had no information about the cause of the crash. The airplane was submerged about 75 feet off shore, he said.

The FAA will be investigating the crash on-site, Herwig said, and the National Transportation Safety Board also has been notified of the crash.

Crow Wing County Sergent Chad Paulson said the cause of the the crash still remains unknown but the FAA is expected to arrive on scene late Sunday where the crash will be assessed.

“Hopefully based on witness statements and a look at the wreckage they (the FAA) will be able to determine a cause,” said Paulson.

Assisting the sheriff’s office at the scene were the Crosslake, Nisswa and Breezy Point police departments; the Minnesota State Patrol; the DNR; North Memorial Ambulance Service; Ideal and Crosslake fire departments; and first responders.

MATT ERICKSON, night editor, may be reached at 855-5857 or

JESSI PIERCE, staff writer, may be reached at 855-5859 or Follow her on Twitter at (@jessi_pierce).