Investigators are trying to determine the cause of a single-engine plane crash in Tama County near Clutier Wednesday that left one person dead and one injured. The Tama County Sheriff’s Department said the pilot was killed in the crash and a passenger was taken to the University of Iowa Hospitals burn center.
Witnesses said that the plane was flying low over the area before the crash. Tim Jones, a farmer who lives near the crash scene, said the plane seemed to be struggling to maintain altitude before passing over a hill.
He says the plane buzzed the top of the trees. Jones said it appeared that the plane had struck power lines in an area near where a private air strip had once existed. Jones said the one injured person was calling out for help when he arrived, that person was attempting to rescue the other victim and the aircraft was on fire.
Tama County Sheriff Dennis Kucera said investigators don’t know yet if the plane was in trouble and attempting to land at the old strip or if the aircraft was simply too low and got tangled in power lines.
Some witnesses who saw the accident couldn’t help with that.
“The one in the vehicle had seen it flying, he was traveling, so he couldn’t hear and didn’t know if there was any type of problem with the aircraft,” Kucera said. Federal crash investigators were on the scene Wednesday and plan to return today. Records show that the plane, manufactured in 1946.
Sheriff Kucera said he was not releasing any information about the victims in the crash until later at the request of the victims’ families.
By Dave Franzman, KCRG-TV, Cedar Rapids