Community grapples with loss of Princeton couple in plane crash

- It was a long weekend for many in Princeton, Minnesota, as the community struggled to make sense of a tragic plane crash that claimed the life of a well-respected couple remembered for their generosity.

Chad and Jill Rygwall died as their single-engine Cessna plane struck a set of power lines and dove into the Mississippi River.

The couple was likely on a fall color ride, enjoying their shared love of flying.

It wasn't until five years ago that Chad was allowed to fly, after learning he was color blind as a teen. At the age of 40 he suffered a heart attack, which friends say propelled the heating and cooling specialist to live life to the fullest.

"I think that woke him up, and he said 'life's too short,'" longtime friend Dave Feders said. "It's one thing I wish I would've done with him, just because he loved it."

He earned a less restrictive private license a few years ago, which those close to the couple say they used at least twice a week--often bringing his wife, a special education teacher for Princeton Public Schools, along for the ride.

Now, their 13-year-old son is left without parents, and Chad's parents without children after his sister died last year.

The National Transportation Safety Board investigation into the crash remains ongoing, though the Anoka County sheriff's office says that, for now, the incident will be listed as an accident. 

Up Next:


  • Popular

  • Recent

Stories you may be interested in – includes advertiser stories