RAMSEY, Minn. (WCCO) — One victim has been identified in a plane crash that happened Friday night in Anoka County.

It happened just before 6 p.m. near the city of Ramsey, near Highway 10 and Cutter Grove Avenue.

Witnesses say a single-engine plane was flying along the Mississippi River when it hit some power lines and nose-dived into the water.

(credit: CBS)

Witnesses describe a horrifying scene around dinnertime. A single-engine plane flying so low over the Mississippi that a tree trimming crew locked eyes with the pilot.

Seconds later he flew into power lines.

“It blew the plane apart, pretty much. Cut it in pieces and there was all kinds of debris, fuselage went right into the water,” witness Duane Welter said.

“Just a guy nonchalantly, just flying along and I nodded and he nods back,” Richard Held, another witness, said.

Laura Hamilton was shocked when she looked out her kitchen window.

“Oh I knew it. I knew it. I knew it was just way too low,” she said.

The plane was licensed to Chad Rygwall of Princeton. His 48-year-old wife Jill was pulled from the river but couldn’t be saved.

“There were no indications prior to the crash of any mechanical issues with the airplane,” Lt. Brent Erickson with the Anoka County Sheriff’s Department said.

The 12,000 volt line was clearly marked by red warning balls. One still floats in the water.

Saturday, recovery teams swept the area with sonar, looking to find the wreckage and the missing pilot.

“We were able to locate the fuselage and one wing of the plane and we have contacted a professional salvage company,” Erickson said.

That crew will attempt to recover the submerged fuselage Saturday evening along with the missing pilot. A sad and tragic ending to a pleasure flight above a colorful river.

Residents living in the area say this is the third plane crash into the same power lines in the last 30 years.

Bill Hudson