CHAMPLIN, Minn. (KMSP) - A husband and wife out for an evening flight lost their lives after their small plane hit power lines running across the Mississippi River, according to Lt. Brent Erickson with the Anoka County Sheriff's Office.
Friday evening, authorities responded to reports of a single-engine Cessna-style plane crashing into the river near the 6600 block of Riverdale Drive in Ramsey, Minnesota. Before the crash, the plane did not show signs of mechanical issues. Witnesses, who saw the plane go down, went out on a pontoon boat and pulled a woman from the water. They could not revive her and she passed away.
Using the tail identification number on the plane to track down the owners, investigators identified the woman as 48-year-old Jill Marie Rygwall of Princeton, Minnesota. Her husband, Chad Rygwall, who had about five years of flight experience, was piloting the plane when it went down.
The couple took off from the Princeton Municipal Airport Friday afternoon. Investigators are unsure what time they took off because the airport does not keep time logs. Authorities found the pilot's vehicle at the airport and the hangar door was still open.
Erickson says the couple leaves behind a 13-year-old son, who is currently in the care of his grandparents.
Jill Rygwall worked as a special education paraprofessional for the Intermediate School for Princeton Public Schools. Dr. Julia Espe, the superintendent of the district, released the following statement:
"The entire Princeton Public Schools district and community is shocked and saddened by Jill’s death. She was a paraprofessional for the Intermediate School. Jill was very kind in her work with special needs students, helping them to meet their goals. She will be greatly missed."
High water levels made the river unsafe for dive search, but by using sonar, authorities found the fuselage and a wing about 300 yards away from were the power lines were. A salvage company will be working to recover the plane from the river.