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3 victims named in fatal flight that took off from Alexandria

Jeff Golberg of Alexandria identified the victims as Dr. James Edney of Omaha, Nebraska, along with Edney’s stepson, Jacob Mertes, and Mertes’ wife, Sara Mertes.

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The Alexandria Airport, owned by the city, is the 13th busiest among all 134 public airports in the state. (File photo)
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ALEXANDRIA, Minn. — Three people were killed when a plane that took off the from the Alexandria, Minnesota, airport on Saturday, Aug. 7, crashed west of Minneapolis in the Carver County town of Victoria.

Jeff Golberg of Alexandria identified the victims as Dr. James Edney of Omaha, Nebraska, along with Edney’s stepson, Jacob Mertes, and Mertes’ wife, Sara Mertes.

The couple had been visiting the home of James and Deborah Edney on Lake Miltona, Golberg, a friend and fellow pilot of Edney's, said in an interview.

Jacob and Sara Mertes were about to return to their home in Libby, Montana.

Golberg said James Edney was well known among the Alexandria pilot community and had been spending time on Lake Miltona for about 50 years.

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“Really a great group of people, very close,” Goldberg said of the Edneys.

There had recently been a large family gathering, including Jim Edney’s siblings, at Lake Miltona.

Golberg said Jim Edney was an experienced pilot and that they had flown together for about 20 years and called the deaths “devastating.”

The plane was headed to Eden Prairie's Flying Cloud Airport when it crashed.

The National Transportation Safety Board said on Sunday, Aug. 8, that three were on board the plane, with no survivors.

According to information posted on the city of Victoria's website, the plane crashed about 5:44 p.m., Saturday, Aug. 7, after the city of Victoria and Carver County Sheriff’s Office received reports of an airplane crash in Victoria in the vicinity of Rose Street near downtown.

The small plane crashed into a house at 7956 Rose St. and caught fire. A family was at home when it crashed but there were no injuries reported by those in the house or on the ground.

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The medical examiner will investigate the cause and manner of death and identities of those killed. The investigation of the airplane crash will be led by the National Transportation Safety Board.

The NTSB said on Twitter that it is investigating the crash of a Mooney M20M airplane, which is a single-engine plane, at Victoria. On Sunday, the NTSB confirmed three people had been killed in the crash.

Information from FlightAware.com shows the plane took off from Alexandria Municipal Airport's Chandler Field at 4:56 p.m. and was in the air for 52 minutes. Records show the plane was owned by Edney.

According to the NTSB, investigators will be to request radar data, weather information, air traffic control communication, airplane maintenance records and the pilot’s medical records. Wreckage was being removed Sunday and taken to a secure facility for examination. Video of the crash is also being reviewed by the NTSB, which expects to issue a preliminary report in about 12 business days.

Reach Jeff Beach at jbeach@agweek.com or call 701-451-5651 (work) or 859-420-1177.
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