The pilot in a deadly crash in Sauk Rapids that killed two people Friday night has been identified, FOX 9 reports.
Scott Olson, 60, and a passenger died when the single-engine plane Olson was piloting crashed and started a fire in a home on the 700 block of Garden Place in Sauk Rapids at about 8:30 p.m. Friday.
Olson, a married father of three, was an experienced pilot with Sun Country Airlines, FOX 9 says. He was reportedly sightseeing and taking photos with a friend before his Brumwell RV-6 experimental plane crashed.
Witnesses told the National Transportation Safety Board that Olson was flying near an Allegiant Airlines plane, inbound from Arizona, before the crash. NTSB officials are investigating whether Olson's plane was caught in the larger airline's wake turbulence.
"When a plane flies through the air, it creates almost like a little tornado coming off those wing tips, but it's horizontal, Peter Knudson with the NTSB said. "So, instead of going up and down, it's side-to-side and trails the plane."
According to the Star Tribune, Courtney Breth saw Olson's plane just behind the Allegiance jet right before the plane nose-dived into the house.
Jeff Lewis, a retired air controller from Oregon who analyzes accident data and pushes for FAA reforms, told the Star Tribune that controllers are vigilant about preventing planes from getting behind or beneath another plane because wake turbulence can cause a smaller plane to lose control and flip.
The home’s owner, Jeff Hille, told the St. Cloud Times that one person, his brother-in-law Kole Heckendorf, was in the house at the time of the crash, but escaped uninjured.
FOX 9 says Heckendorf jumped to safety from a second floor window of the home after the crash.