Plane hits trees before fatal Iowa crash

Published On: Dec 11 2012 07:24:13 AM CST   Updated On: Dec 11 2012 07:24:00 AM CST

A preliminary accident investigation report says a small plane hit some trees before fatally crashing short of a grass airstrip near Correctionville in northwest Iowa.

The National Transportation Safety Board says in the report issued Monday that despite the foggy conditions the evening of Dec. 1, the pilot told air traffic controllers that he had the airstrip in sight.

The crash killed two passengers, 53-year-old Lee Schroeder, of Oto, and 55-year-old James Smith, of Correctionville. The pilot, 70-year-old Gaylen Knaack, also of Correctionville, was taken for treatment of his burns to a hospital in Lincoln, Neb.

The NTSB says the Beech P35 had taken off from Correctionville that morning and flew to Grand Island, Neb., to pick up one of the passengers. It crashed when it returned to Correctionville.