WDAZ: Your Home Team

Published November 18, 2009, 10:55 AM

Missing Pilot Found Dead

Andrew Lindberg has been found dead in wrecked plane.

By: Jessica Dugan, WDAZ

A Minnesota pilot missing since Friday was found dead in his plane this morning.

The plane was spotted in a heavily wooded area of Clearwater County last night, but darkness prevented authorities from getting to the plane. Searchers went out this morning and found Andrew Lindberg dead in the plane.

Andrew Lindberg was a new pilot, but the flight from Lakeville, Minnesota to Hallock was a familiar one. He had flown the same path just a week before for the opening deer season. When he didn't land in Hallock Friday night, his family started to worry. For days the Civil Air Patrol search for a sign of the missing pilot. Tuesday night a pilot from Walker, Minnesota noticed the tail of a plane in the White Earth State Forest. He called authorities and flew them over the wreckage, they say that's when they knew that they would not be rescuing Lindberg.

"It looked like it was going to be more of a recovery," said Doug Krier, Mahnomen County Sheriff.

Clearwater Counth Sheriff Mike Erickson says that didn't stop Lindberg's younger brother, John and some of his friends from trying to find the wreck after dark last night.

"Friends of the family and some family members took off through the woods and started searching on their own, and ended up spending the night in the woods along with a couple deputies," Erickson said.

But the trees are so think in the forest, that they couldn't find it, even though they were less than 50 yards away.

"Actually they were within a couple hundred yards of it. And this morning when they started searching for it again they were about 40 yards from it and they didn't see it, that's how thick it is out there," Erickson said.

Authorities used a State Patrol helicopter to get GPS coordinates of the crash site and walked to it this morning and confirmed what they had thought the night before.

Mahnomen County Sheriff Doug Krier said Lindberg had probably died on impact. "It did not look like there would be any chance of anyone surviving."

Authorities say the plane was nose down and had caught on fire.

Family members were at the command post on the logging trail today and waited for Lindberg's body to be brought out and taken away by the coroner. Lindberg's uncle Bob Griggs has been the family's spokesman during the search.

"This is a horrible loss, anyone who has lost, its unimaginable, it's a nightmare for parents to lose a child, for a spouse to lose your husband... it's a tragedy," Griggs said.

The National Transportation Safety Board will investigate to see what caused Lindberg's plane to crash.