NTSB releases preliminary report on plane crash that killed 3

L-R: John Pagel (Photo courtesy Edge Dairy Cooperative), Nathan Saari (Photo courtesy Saari family) and Steve Witcpalek (Photo courtesy Witcpalek family)

(WLUK) -- The National Transportation Safety Board has released its preliminary report on a plane crash that killed all three people aboard, including a Kewaunee County dairy farm owner.

The Feb. 22 crash killed John T. Pagel, of Pagel's Ponderosa, his son-in-law, Steven Witcpalek, and the pilot, Nathan Saari.

The Cessna 441 aircraft was on its way from Indianapolis to Green Bay when it crashed 60 miles after take off.

According to the report, "shortly after takeoff the pilot deviated from the assigned heading and altitude. When questioned by the Indianapolis departure controller, the pilot replied that the plane was out of control."

The report says the pilot tried to correct the plane when communication and radar contact was lost.

The plane crashed in a central Indiana farm field, about 60 miles northwest of Indianapolis.

The Pagel family operates Pagel's Ponderosa Dairy with more than 5,300 cows and 100 employees, as well as Cannery Public Market in Green Bay and Ron's Cheese in Luxemburg.

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