By The Associated Press
EVELETH, Minn. - The chief federal
investigator into the plane crash that killed
Sen. Paul Wellstone said Monday that
extensive damage to the aircraft has blocked
any quick answer into whether de-icing
equipment was operating properly.
The National Transportation Safety Board is trying to
determine why the twin-engine aircraft crashed and burned
Friday morning about 2 1/2 miles from the Eveleth-Virginia
Municipal Airport. One question is whether ice built up on
the plane, which would have affected flight.
The NTSB's Frank Hilldrup said Monday that the agency
learned that one pilot who departed from the airport about
50 minutes after the crash reported slight icing after his
plane entered cloud cover at about 1,000 feet.
At the airport, local pilots expressed doubt.
"There was little ice. It was normal. We see it all the time,"
said Don Sipola, a flight instructor with 25 years experience.
NTSB officials have said the investigation could take
months; Hilldrup said investigators plan to stay in Eveleth
another couple of days or so.
The crash killed Wellstone and his wife, Sheila, both 58;
their daughter, Marcia Markuson, 33; and three campaign
staffers and two pilots. The Wellstones were on their way to
Hilldrup said the plane's landing gear appeared to have been
down and its flaps lowered properly. He said investigators
were doing routine checks on how the pilots spent their
time before the flight, but weren't aware of anything of
During a brief Senate session in Washington, Wellstone was
eulogized by lawmakers as an uncommon advocate for the
The somber 40-minute remembrance, held while most
senators were away from Washington, was a prelude to a
Wellstone memorial today in Minnesota.
A private family funeral was held in Minneapolis on Monday.
Mondale may be formidable foe
Editorial: The Wellstone tradition: Mondale would be fitting
replacement on ticket
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