Tuesday, September 15, 2020

Cessna 172I Skyhawk, N8488L: Fatal accident occurred September 13, 2020 in Cottage Grove, Washington County, Minnesota

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. 

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

Additional Participating Entity: 
Federal Aviation Administration / Flight Standards District Office; Minneapolis, Minnesota

Harrier Aviation LLC

Location: Cottage Grove, MN
Accident Number: CEN20LA392
Date & Time: 09/13/2020, 1432 CDT
Aircraft: Cessna 172
Injuries:3 Fatal 
Flight Conducted Under: Part 91: General Aviation - Personal 

On September 13, 2020, at 1432 central daylight time, a Cessna 172I airplane, N8488L was destroyed when it was involved in an accident near Cottage Grove, Minnesota. The pilot and two passengers were fatally injured. The airplane was operated as a Title 14 Code of Federal Regulations (CFR) Part 91 personal flight.

Radar data showed the airplane depart SGS at 1428, climbing to about 1,800 ft mean sea level, and proceed southbound before it turned southeast-bound over Upper Grey Cloud Island. At 1432, over Lower Grey Cloud Island, the target disappeared. Another airplane, inbound for landing at SGS, captured N8488L in a video and still photographs as it descended. Examination of the photographs indicated the airplane appeared to be intact.

Some wreckage was located and recovered on September 14, 2020. The majority of the wreckage (about 90 percent) was recovered on September 19, 2020. The wreckage has been taken to a secure location where it will be further examined. 

Aircraft and Owner/Operator Information

Aircraft Make: Cessna
Registration: N8488L
Model/Series:172 I 
Aircraft Category: Airplane
Amateur Built: No
Operator: Harrier Aviation
Operating Certificate(s) Held: None

Meteorological Information and Flight Plan

Conditions at Accident Site:
Condition of Light:
Observation Facility, Elevation: SGS
Observation Time:
Distance from Accident Site:
Temperature/Dew Point:
Lowest Cloud Condition:
Wind Speed/Gusts, Direction:
Lowest Ceiling:
Altimeter Setting:
Type of Flight Plan Filed:
Departure Point:

Wreckage and Impact Information

Crew Injuries: 1 Fatal
Aircraft Damage: Substantial
Passenger Injuries: 2 Fatal
Aircraft Fire: None
Ground Injuries: N/A
Aircraft Explosion: None
Total Injuries: 3 Fatal
Latitude, Longitude:

Those who may have information that might be relevant to the National Transportation Safety Board investigation may contact them by email eyewitnessreport@ntsb.gov, and any friends and family who want to contact investigators about the accident should email assistance@ntsb.gov.

Grace Addae

Lucas James Knight

Lawrence "Larry" John Schlichting
April 4th, 1960 - September 13th, 2020

Minnesota officials identified the third occupant of the plane that crashed September 13 on an island in the Mississippi River.

Three people were onboard a small plane that crashed in a water-filled quarry on Grey Cloud Island in Washington County. All three people died in the crash. 

The Ramsey County Medical Examiner identified the third occupant as 30-year-old Grace Addae of Eden Prairie. The other two occupants were identified as Larry Schlichting, 60, of Eagan and Lucas Knight, 24, of North Mankato. 

Authorities said the Cessna 172I Skyhawk left Fleming Field Municipal Airport in South St. Paul on the afternoon of Sept. 13. The plane lost radar contact, and by the evening, the airport had reported it missing. 

Crews had focused their search for the plane on a deep, water-filled quarry and located some of the wreckage from the plane more than 70 feet below the surface. Dive teams recovered two occupants Tuesday and the third occupant Thursday night.

Washington County Sheriff's Office
-Update on Plane Crash-
For Immediate Release
Media Contact: Commander Kyle Schenck
Date: 09/15/2020
ICR Number: WC20041232

The Washington County Sheriff's Office, with assistance from the Cottage Grove Police Department, Hennepin and Dakota Sheriff's Office Dive Teams, recovered two of the three occupants onboard the aircraft. 

Search conditions continue to be difficult due to the depth and debris from the wreckage. 

Identification information will not be provided until next of kin notifications have been completed. 

The incident is still under investigation with assistance from the Ramsey County Medical Examiner's Office and the Federal Aviation Administration.  

No additional information available at this time.

Press Release Prepared By: Cmdr. Kyle Schenck

The bodies of two of the three people onboard a plane that crashed on Grey Cloud Island in south Washington County on Sunday have been recovered.

The bodies were recovered on Tuesday from a water-filled quarry by divers from local law enforcement agencies. 
Names of those who died will not be released until next of kin have been notified, according to the Washington County Sheriff’s Office.

A statement by the agency stated that “search conditions continue to be difficult due to the depth (of the water) and debris from the wreckage.”

Three people were in the Cessna 172I Skyhawk aircraft when it left Fleming Field Municipal Airport in South St. Paul sometime after 2 p.m. Sunday. Officials were notified that the plane was missing 8 p.m. Sunday night and found the first sign of wreckage — a tire from the airplane — three hours later in the gravel-rock pit on Lower Grey Cloud Island in Cottage Grove. The pit is operated by Aggregate Industries.

According to FlightAware.com, a service that tracks flights, a Cessna Skyhawk took off from Fleming Field at 2:28 p.m. It was last seen four minutes later.

The Washington County Sheriff’s Office, with assistance from the Cottage Grove Police Department and the Hennepin County and Dakota County Sheriff’s Office Dive Teams, are working at the scene.

The incident is still under investigation with assistance from the Ramsey County Medical Examiner’s Office and the Federal Aviation Administration, the sheriff’s office said.



  1. This accident, combined with it's past known flight history, makes no sense at all. https://flightaware.com/live/flight/N8488L

  2. Flight history of the prior two weeks looks like the 172 does rental or flight school duty. That LLC has four aircraft and leasing is a common practice used by schools and FBO's.

    That FlightAware track for 13 September only shows a four minute period where the ADS-B signal was detected by a ground receiver. Can't interpret the accident circumstances from that brief glimpse.