WINTERSET – Four people were killed after a plane crashed in rural Guthrie Center on Friday night.
Officials say the plane left Le Mars and was en route to Osceola with Edward Ralph Anderson (49), Patrick Kellen (36), Tyler Douvia (28), and Samantha Clark (15) when an emergency landing was requested. The pilot, Edward Anderson, suffered a heart attack mid air.
Des Moines Air Traffic Control requested an emergency landing at Guthrie Center Airport and tried to help a student pilot land the plane. Metro pilot’s say landing a plane in an emergency situation is never easy, especially when you’re a student.
“Time is of the essence because if they don’t have any medical training or any medical equipment on board, now what’s going through his mind is, ‘I’ve got to get this guy help,'” said Flight Instructor Michael Cornelius.
The instructor says landing the plane is like learning to ride a bike. The more you do it, the more it becomes muscle memory. That’s why it’s more difficult for a student who doesn’t have years of experience to handle an emergency.
“If it’s somebody who’s had a couple of lessons, they may not be comfortable landing the airplane yet. We teach our students that in an emergency we aviate, we navigate, and we communicate,” said Cornelius.
The main priority is to fly the plane once you realize something is wrong. Then you put the plane in the right direction and figure out where’s the closest airport for an emergency landing. Air traffic control points the pilot in the right direction and will help with whatever they can in the moment.
“The aviation community is very small, so when we hear of one of our own getting hurt, we always take it personally because it’s like losing a family member,” said Cornelius.
While pilots wait for the NTSB to conclude their investigation, they’re hoping to find out what went wrong. From each incident, they learn something knew and apply it to their every day lives in order to make aviation safer.