Numerous Witness Reports:
The low altitude of the ‘big airplane’, which appears to be Allegiant Flight #108 arriving from Phoenix-Gateway [KIWA], was reported by numerous witnesses. A few article excerpts are added below. It will be interesting to see what the Allegiant pilots saw, and what they will report to NTSB.
I was on the phone and a big airplane was going really low, you could feel it … I said, ‘Oh my gosh, it’s flying really low’ and right behind came a smaller aircraft,” Trish Paggen said. “We don’t know what happened, but it flew and it turned and it nosedived straight down. It wasn’t that loud of an explosion, but you knew right away what it was.” [article]
“(A larger plane) flew over, we were all watching the big plane it was really low and then from that direction we saw a white plane (come in) extremely low … I know I saw something eject, like a parachute or person and then all of a sudden the plane started wobbling, it was coming at us and then we ran,” neighbor Tammy Lewandowski said. “We turned around and saw it explode.” [article]
Neighbor Courtney Breth lives within sight of Hille’s house, which is on a cul-de-sac. She saw what happened, which included a bigger airplane being followed by the small plane that crashed. “We were sitting at my neighbors’ pool and we watched the big airlines plane go low, turning and going toward the St. Cloud airport, and then we heard this little airplane, and all of a sudden we saw the little white single-engine plane behind the bigger plane. The little plane just turned and nose-dived straight down. “We heard this big ka-boom! And it was like, Oh my gosh,’” Breth said. [article]
The 27-yr-old man in the house at the time of the crash and explosive fire also talked to reporters. Kole Heckendorf is a former North Dakota State University standout who went on to see time with four NFL teams. He joined the football coaching staff at St. John’s University on a stipend basis last fall. Heckendorf said he was in an upstairs bedroom at the time of the crash. “I was sitting in my room and all of a sudden I heard this blast,” Heckendorf said. “It shook the house and knocked me onto the bed. We’re supposed to move into a new house next week, so I’ve been working on a lot of projects. I had some paint thinner in the garage and my first thought was ‘What did I do?’ Then I looked out in the hallway and saw it was already on fire. I just took a blanket off the bed, knocked out the window and jumped out.” Heckendorf said he was unaware a plane had hit the house until neighbors who witnessed the crash informed him of it. Sadly, he did lose his dog, Storm. [article]