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UPDATE: Iowa couple identified in Sunday’s plane crash

UPDATE: The Eveleth Police Department released a statement Monday identifying the occupants of the plane crash that happened near Clyde Road and Bodas Road.

One occupant has been identified as the pilot, 73 years old Richard Zahasky, and his 68-year-old wife, Roseann Zahasky of Iowa.

Eveleth-Virginia Aiport Manager, Gary Ulman was one of the first to witness the crash.

He has been in the airline industry for 40 years and said he couldn't believe anyone survived Sunday's crash.

"Seeing what we saw, there's no way that anyone got out or came out of this airplane alive," said Ulman.

The St. Louis County Sheriff's Office tapped Ulman to take to the skies to search for the downed plane and those on board.

Ulman, his wife, and a deputy located the downed plane shortly after takeoff, flames still coming from the plane's cabin area.

"It looked like the wings were broken off and they were behind the airplane maybe twenty feet," said Ulman.

Both passengers were treated at a nearby hospital for minor injuries and have since been released.

It was reported that the airplane had been heading back to Iowa when the plane experienced engine problems and the pilot attempted to land at the Eveleth-Virginia airport.

The accident remains under investigation by the FAA who is currently on scene.


EVELETH, MN -- An investigation into what caused a small plane to crash near the Eveleth-Virginia Municipal Airport continued Monday afternoon.

New images captured by KBJR 6 above the crash site southeast of the airport shows the charred wreckage of the Piper PA-32 plane.

Miraculously, two people were rescued from the crash that happened sometime after 3 p.m. Sunday near the intersection of Bodas and Clyde Roads in Fayal Township.

Gary Ulman, the airport manager at Eveleth-Virginia, was called in Sunday to assist in locating the downed plane.

"It's crazy how two people survived," Ulman said.

St. Louis County Under Sheriff Dave Phillips echoed Ulman's thoughts.

"It's a miracle the two people on board survived," Phillips said.

According to the manager of Tower Municipal Airport, John Burgess, the plane, took off from the Tower Municipal Airport between 12 and 1 p.m. Sunday destined for somewhere in Wisconsin.

No flight planned had been filed, Burgess said.

The conditions of the two people on board and the cause of the crash weren't immediately known as of Monday afternoon.

The National Transportation Safety Board is expected to investigate the crash.

Ulman said the last time he was called in to assist in a plane crash was when a plane carrying the late Senator Paul Wellstone, family members, and campaign staffers went down on October 25, 2002.

Wellstone's plane was en route to Eveleth when it crashed two miles from the airport.

Kevin Jacobsen

News Director

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