NTSB report: Pilot struggled to control plane before crash

Wisconsin State Farmer

ROSSVILLE, Ind. (AP) - Federal investigators say the pilot of a plane struggled to regain control of the aircraft before it crashed into a central Indiana farm field, killing all three people aboard.

Nathan Saari was killed when the plane he was piloting crashed in rural Indiana on Feb. 22. Prominent Wisconsin farmer John Pagel and his son-in-law Steve Witcpalek were also killed. The cause of the crash has not yet been determined.

The National Transportation Safety Board says in a preliminary report into the Feb. 22 crash that pilot Nathan Saari told an air traffic controller the Cessna 441 Conquest Turboprop was "out of control" shortly after takeoff from Eagle Creek Airport in Indianapolis, bound for Green Bay, Wisconsin.

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The report says Saari also reported control problems to a controller in Chicago.

The plane crashed just north of the small town of Rossville, about 60 miles (96 kilometers) northwest of Indianapolis.

The crash also killed John T. Pagel, 58, owner of Pagel's Ponderosa Dairy in Kewaunee, Wis., and his son-in-law, Steven Witcpalek, 39, also of Kewaunee.