Interview with witness Brian Mechura
Brian Mechura, age 30, of Faribault, a welder-fabricator at the Owatonna Airport witnessed the plane crash Thursday morning.
Faribault, Minn. — "I watched the airplane roll down the runway and everything seemed normal until he got to the end. I thought he was going to hit his reverse thrusters when he powered up. But he must have been trying to do a go-around. The right wing seemed like it lagged behind and the left wing lifted up and put the airplane pretty much knife edge. And then the power from the left must have forced the whole airplane nose down and that was all I saw because it kind of went over the rise and I couldn't see anymore.
"He had it down just fine. Everything looked like it was going normal to me, as far as the braking and stopping. I don't know if he thought he didn't have enough runway or if he was having problems. It seemed like it took him a long time to slow down and he must have tried to go around.
"He tried a go around, which is when you land and you know you are not going to make it so you throttle back up and take back off. From where I was to the end of the runway was about a mile but it looked like he got up a little bit but when he lifted off the right wing was too heavy. He got it up so the whole airplane from wing tip to wing tip was straight up and down and, like I said, the power from the left engine must have forced it around and then it nosed straight in.
"I went down to the scene but I didn't actually get onto the crash scene so I didn't get to see the crash scene too well. Honestly, it seemed like he set everything down all right and I don't know what happened afterwards. It looked like it was a normal landing and I just kind of watched it, and then all of a sudden he tried to lift off again and that right wing just kind of fell off and didn't lift. I don't know what would cause that. It didn't lift the airplane. It looked like the left wing was doing all the work and I don't know if he didn't get his flaps up or the engine failed or what happened.
"The way it came down I knew it was going to be bad because it was under power and it nosed straight in so it was either going to cartwheel or do something and wreck the plane. From the rise you couldn't see it hit. I was looking for smoke and stuff but apparently with the rain and how wet it was it didn't catch on fire.
"I ran inside and told my boss. He called 911 and he called the FAA and then I went back out and told my buddies. We were all just coming off a break. They all hopped into the truck and cruised down the runway and went to the scene.
"We were a ways back and all I saw were airplane parts just kind of scattered. The one guy said the engine was still smoking but that was all I saw."