All Onboard Safe, Cancer Patient Makes It To Destination
A Cessna 210 Centurion operating as
an Angel Flight made an emergency landing in a Minnesota field
Wednesday, after the plane's pilot reported engine trouble.
KAAL-6 in Rochester reports the aircraft departed St. Paul's
Holman Field (STO) Wednesday morning with three people onboard.
Pilot Robin Blakkolb was transporting a cancer patient, identified
as Kathryn, and another passenger to Waukegan, IL, where Kathryn
was due to undergo treatment.
The plane experienced engine problems over the town of Lake
Elmo, however, forcing Blakkolb to put the plane down in a frozen
soybean field. "The altitude and engine loss occurred in an area
where this field was his best option," said FAA spokesman Kevin
By all indications, the field provided an excellent landing spot
for the plane... as its frozen surface provided a relatively smooth
landing zone. Photos from the scene show no apparent damage to the
aircraft -- there's no FAA prelim on the incident, either -- and
the field appears long enough for the plane to take off from once
the problem is repaired.
Most importantly, all three people onboard the Centurion came
through the incident without a scratch.
A nearby resident allowed Blakkolb and his passengers to stay in
her home overnight, KAAL reports, and even them to the airport the
next morning -- where Kathryn caught another flight to
Blakkolb has flown over 25 charity missions for Angel Flight
Central since 2002, according to the organization's executive
director, Christel Gollnick.
"Landing in a snowy field in the middle of winter with an engine
problem is always a challenge," Gollnick said. "Our volunteer pilot
did just a fantastic job of following safety procedures and making
a safe landing that everybody could walk away from."