Elementary school teacher among 3 dead in Duluth plane crash

A spokesperson with Independent School District 196, Rosemount-Apple Valley-Eagan, has confirmed to 5 EYEWITNESS NEWS that one of the three people killed in a Duluth plane crash late Saturday night is a 32-year-old teacher in the school district.

The district said Alyssa Schmidt taught 3rd grace at Echo Park Elementary School, but lived in St. Paul. Schmidt’s brother, according to investigators, 31-year-old Matthew Schmidt, Burnsville, also died in the crash which happened just south of Duluth International Airport. Authorities told KSTP the pilot, 32-year-old Tylor Fretland, also of Burnsville, is the third person who died in the accident.

Hermantown Police said the plane disappeared from radar less than two miles from the airport and then slammed into the second story of a home in the 5100 block of Arrowhead Road while the husband and wife were sleeping just before midnight.

Investigators said Jason and Cyrstal Hoffman suffered only minor injuries.

Jason Hoffman said he and his wife felt “very lucky” to come out of the ordeal without any significant injuries, but also said the two were heartbroken by the deaths of the three people in the plane.

“We were in bed. The plane hit directly above our bed. Anywhere around 18 to 20 inches above our heads,” said Hoffman. “The ceiling did fall down on my legs, but light bruising. That’s it. My wife got one little scratch and a bruise. It’s a miracle. Lucky. Very, very lucky and heartbroken for those who didn’t make it.”

The National Transportation Safety Board is the lead agency in the investigation. The cause is still under investigation.

Previous coverage of this story can be found here.

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