On January 23, at approximately 9:30 p.m. the Sauk Centre Police Department and the Stearns County Sheriff’s Office were notified that the pilot of a single engine experimental aircraft had been last seen around 3:30 p.m. at the Sauk Centre Airport (D39) and hadn’t returned.  Information was that the pilot was planning on staying near the airport to practice take-offs and landings. Calls and efforts to reach the pilot were unsuccessful and law enforcement was notified.

    The Stearns County Sheriff’s Office and Sauk Centre Police Department began a search of the area with the assistance of the FAA and cellular telephone carriers in an effort to pinpoint the aircraft’s location. Due to poor weather, an aerial search was not possible at the time.

    On January 24, a ground search was coordinated based on information provided by the FAA and the aircraft was subsequently located at approximately 8:25 a.m. by members of the Sauk Centre Fire Department.

    The name of the deceased pilot was 50-year-old Matthew Skwira. The FAA is conducting a crash investigation.

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