Black boxes recovered in Owatonna crash

NTSB investigator John Lovell
NTSP investigator John Lovell offered new details on the investigation into the crash of a business jet in Owatonna on Thursday morning.
MPR Photo/Tim Nelson

Investigators from the National Transportation Safety Board dispatched the devices on the same plane that brought them to southern Minnesota to investigate the accident that killed six business travelers and a two-pilot flight crew.

John Lovell, investigator in charge of the accident, spoke at a briefing in the lobby of the Owatonna airport, within sight of where the Hawker 800 twin-engine jet skipped off the end of the runway, knocked down some of the airport lights and plowed into a nearby corn field.

He said it was too early to say where investigators might focus and listed weather as only one of many factors that the NTSB would examine in relation to the crash.

The plane went down shortly before 10 a.m., at the end of a flight from Atlantic City, N.J. The passengers were employees from Tishman, an East Coast construction company, Revel, a casino development company and Atlantic Plate Glass.

The flight's original manifest listed 10 people on board the plane, including the pilots. The plane's owners, East Coast Jets, later told Owatonna airport services to expect nine people, asking them to provide food for the people on the plane before the return trip.

Emergency responders, however, could only find eight people at the scene of the crash. Seven were dead. The last, a woman, was rushed to the Owatonna hospital in "very critical condition," according to Minnesota Department of Public Safety spokesman Doug Neville. He said the hospital reported she had died shortly before 1 p.m.

"We have just the eight victims," Neville said.

The group was traveling to visit the offices of Viracon, a glass company with operations in Owatonna. They had provided specialty glass to a number of East Coast skyscrapers and are expected to get at least part of the glazing contract for the Freedom Tower, expected to replace the World Trade Center buildings destroyed by the 2001 terror attacks.

More NTSB investigators are scheduled to arrive on Friday and are expected to provide more details about the incident midmorning.

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