Friday, February 3, 2017

Mooney M20C Ranger, N9149V: Accident occurred February 02, 2017 in Ellendale, Steele County, Minnesota

The National Transportation Safety Board did not travel to the scene of this accident. 

Aviation Accident Preliminary Report - National Transportation Safety Board:

FAA Flight Standards District Office: Minneapolis  

NTSB Identification: CEN17LA101
14 CFR Part 91: General Aviation
Accident occurred Thursday, February 02, 2017 in Ellendale, MN
Aircraft: MOONEY M20C, registration: N9149V
Injuries: 1 Serious.

This is preliminary information, subject to change, and may contain errors. Any errors in this report will be corrected when the final report has been completed. NTSB investigators may not have traveled in support of this investigation and used data provided by various sources to prepare this aircraft accident report.

On February 2, 2017, at 1950 central standard time, N9149V, a Mooney M20C, collided with a field in Ellendale, Minnesota, following a pilot incapacitation. The pilot was seriously injured. The airplane was substantially damaged. The aircraft was registered to and operated by the pilot under the provisions of 14 Code of Federal Regulations Part 91 as a business flight. Visual meteorological conditions prevailed and an instrument flight rules flight plan was filed. The flight originated from the Duluth International Airport (DLH), Duluth, Minnesota, with an intended destination of the Winona Municipal Airport (ONA), Winona, Minnesota.

If you don’t believe in God, guardian angels, miracles and fate you may think twice about the airplane crash that took place north of Beaver Lake on Thursday night, February 2.

Daniel Johnathan Bass, 39, who works in the area of metal fabrication, filed a flight plan and left the Duluth airport at 6:10 on Thursday night.  It is thought that he headed his Mooney M20C Ranger on a direct flight, south bound for home, to Winona.

Bass has experienced many hours of flying time, and once in the air it is thought that he had put his plane on automatic pilot.

The Federal Aviation Administration later that evening reported the plane missing when it disappeared from radar.  Somehow the plane got about 85 miles off course from what should have been a straight-line flight.

Cynthia Crabtree, who lives a little bit north of Beaver Lake, had been sitting in her sunroom that night, when she heard a noise and assumed a large portion of an oak tree on the farm had come down.  Then, about 9:00, she heard a banging sound on the outside of her home, as well as a cry for help. 

She went to investigate but was concerned about opening the door as she was home alone.  She looked out the window and discovered a man with blood on his face standing outside her home.

Cynthia happens to be a nurse and felt a need to help the man. She asked him to come into her home and immediately called 911. She said it didn’t take long before help arrived, probably because there had already been people out looking for the missing plane.

Cynthia did what she could to help the injured pilot, and was pleased to find that though his speech was impaired he was alert and responsive.

Following the initial review of Bass’ medical condition, he asked if he could call his wife as she would have been expecting him home.  He was also concerned about his plane.

Bass told Cynthia that it may have taken him about 20-30 minutes or more to free himself from the plane, which had crashed just west of 72nd Avenue SW.  Once he got his bearings in the dark, he started walking toward the light he had seen in the area, which he later learned was the Crabtree farm.  It was later determined that Daniel had walked about 500 yards looking for someone to help him.

When the plane crashed, the windshield shattered, and Bass hit his head on the dash. He was transported to St. Marys’ Hospital in Rochester by a North Memorial helicopter and remained in the hospital for a few days following the accident. 

Bass sustained a broken jaw as a result of the plane crash and had to undergo surgery to repair the break before he was released from the hospital. 

Several local sheriff’s departments, Steele, Waseca and Freeborn, the Minnesota Highway Patrol, local ambulance and EMTs, members of the fire department, and others assisted at the scene.  Chuck Crabtree said he was surprised to see about 20 emergency vehicles in the area when he returned home that night. 

Once word was released that there was a plane missing, people from the area commented they had heard planes flying low over the area, something they felt was a bit unusual for this time of the year, especially at night.   People may have first heard the plane that had gotten off course, as well as the aircraft that had been sent out to look for the missing plane. 

The plane came down in an area that is owned by Evelyn Lee and Chuck and Cynthia Crabtree and came to rest in a northwesterly direction on a snowbank a short distance from a grove of trees on the north side of the Crabtree farm.  Bass was fortunate that the plane came down in an area that was clear of trees and buildings.

The Federal Aviation Administration and the NTSB were called in to investigate the plane crash.  Following the initial investigation, the plane, which sustained substantial damage, was disassembled into sections and loaded unto trailers and all the debris from the accident was cleared from the scene.

It is unknown how long it will take to determine the cause of the plane crash.  It can take months for the National Transportation Safety Board to complete their investigation and anything less is pure speculation.

Bass’s brother, who lives in the Twin Cities area, visited the site of the crash the following day and expressed his appreciation to the Crabtrees for their help.  He also said that his brother planned to come back for a visit with them sometime in the future, which would allow him to thank them personally for all the help that they had offered him.

On Sunday afternoon, a beautiful bouquet of flowers and a brief note were delivered to Cynthia, which brought tears to her eyes.  The note said, “Thank you so much for everything.  I am doing well, better every day. Looking forward to seeing you again. I will be more cleaned up and will drive there to visit you. Yours truly, Dan and Deanna Bass.”

We are glad to report Bass was able to walk away from his accident and thankful for the many people from our southern Minnesota area who offered him their assistance when he so desperately needed it.  

It has been said before and I am sure it will be said again, “Any landing one can walk away from is a good one.”


ELLENDALE — A plane crash Thursday outside Ellendale put to the test the old saying that any landing one can walk away from is a good one.

According to a National Transportation Safety Board spokesperson, a single-engine Mooney M20M aircraft took off from Duluth at about 6:10 p.m. and disappeared from radar at about 7:50 p.m. The Federal Aviation Administration reported the plane missing to the Rice-Steele Dispatch Center at about 8:15 p.m., according to Steele County officials.

But it was not until about 9:10 p.m. that the plane and pilot — identified by the Steele County Sheriff’s Office as Daniel Bass, 39, of Winona — were located, after Cynthia Crabtree of rural Ellendale heard a noise outside her home.

“I was just sitting in the sun room, and I heard this bang on the siding of the house, and I heard, ‘Help me!’” she said. “So I looked out the window, and there he was looking at me. I saw his face was all full of blood, so I brought him into the house and called the ambulance.”

The plane had come down in a field just west of 72nd Avenue Southwest and north of Beaver Lake, and Crabtree’s was the closest home. Crabtree said she had heard a noise at about 8 p.m. that she had thought at the time was a falling tree, but it was not clear when exactly the crash occurred, or what transpired between the crash and the pilot arriving at her home.

Crabtree said the pilot, who was taken from the scene by a North Memorial helicopter, seemed alert and responsive after reaching her home.

“He was talking the whole time and wanted me to call his wife, let her know he was OK,” she said.

Sgt. Gary Okins of the Steele County Sheriff’s Office said the flight path filed for was from Duluth to Winona, but the plane “went off course” and ended up in the field north of Ellendale. Bass was flown to Rochester for treatment and remained in St. Marys Hospital on the Mayo Clinic campus as of Friday afternoon, Okins said. FAA records show the plane (identified as an M20C model) is registered to Bass.

The pilot’s wife, Deanna Bass, told the Pioneer Press that her husband may have been affected by carbon monoxide fumes during the flight. She described his injuries as non-life-threatening.

A spokesperson for St. Marys reported his condition Friday afternoon as fair.

Both NTSB and the FAA are investigating the crash, which the FAA said caused substantial damage to the plane. The FAA spokesperson said his agency’s investigation will take several weeks at minimum, while the NTSB said a preliminary report could be finished in about a week.

The Steele, Waseca and Freeborn County Sheriff’s offices; Minnesota State Patrol; and Ellendale Fire and Ambulance assisted at the scene. Officials continue to ask the public to avoid the immediate area.


STEELE COUNTY, Minn. – The Federal Aviation Administration continues to investigate a small plane crash in a field just west of Ellendale.

After crashing on Thursday night, the pilot, 39 year old Daniel Bass, was able to walk to a nearby home to get help. That home belongs to Chuck and Cynthia Crabtree. Cynthia was home at the time.

“I was sitting in my chair and I heard some noise outside, like something banging on the wall. And I got up and I looked out the window, and i heard ‘Please help me’,” said Cynthia.

Seeing that the man was injured, she let him into her home. He told her that he crashed his plane into the nearby field.

“He was more concerned about his wife. He said ‘Please call my wife and let her know I’m ok.’ But I said first I had to call 911 and get the ambulance out here,” Cynthia said.

As Cynthia reflects on the scary scene that happened so close to her home, she’s grateful that she was in the right place at the right time.

“I just thought about all the things that he went through and how God was with him and protected him. It’s a miracle that he walked away from that airplane.

Bass was eventually airlifted to North Memorial Hospital in the Twin Cities. His condition is unknown, but the Crabtrees’ were told he had to have surgery on his jaw.

Bass told Cynthia that he ran out of fuel and that’s why the plane crashed. The FAA is still investigating to determine the official cause.


UPDATE: According to the Steele County Sheriff’s Office, the pilot of the plane has been airlifted to North Memorial Hospital. Their condition is unknown at this time. Before being transported, the pilot was able to walk to a nearby residence to seek help. 

The small plane was reported missing by the Federal Aviation Administration at 8:15 p.m. Thursday.  It was located west of Ellendale near 72nd avenue and Beaver Lake. 

The Federal Aviation Administration and Steele County Sheriff’s Office are being assisted by the Minnesota State Patrol, Waseca County Sheriff’s Office, Freeborn County Sheriff’s Office, Ellendale Fire Department and Ellendale Ambulance.

The public is asked to avoid the immediate area.

ELLENDALE, Minn. –  According to the Steele County Sheriff’s Office a small plane has crashed in rural Ellendale near Beaver Lake. Officials are on the scene and they are asking the public to stay away from the area.

Witnesses on the scene say they heard a plane flying over their homes Thursday evening.  

Responders are still on the scene as of 10:15 Thursday night.


The Steele County Sheriff's Office says the pilot of a small plane that crashed in rural Ellendale was able to walk away from the crash, but was airlifted to the hospital.

At about 8:15 p.m., the sheriff's office says the Federal Aviation Administration reported a missing plane. That plane was located just west of Ellendale.

The scene is being handled by the Federal Aviation Administration, and secured by the Steele County Sheriff's Office with assistance from the Minnesota State Patrol, Waseca County Sheriff's Office, Freeborn County Sheriff's Office, Ellendale Fire Department and Ellendale Ambulance.

The condition of the pilot is currently unknown.


ELLENDALE — Steele County first responders were called Thursday evening to a reported small plane crash in rural Ellendale. 

County officials sent out an email alert at 9:49 p.m., saying that the Steele County Sheriff’s Office was on the scene and asking the public to stay away from the area.

No further information was available at press time.


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