Fatal airplane crash in McIntosh County kills 20-year-old pilot, 2 passengers

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Three people died in a plane crash in McIntosh County June 9, including the pilot and two passengers.

At a news conference June 10, officials with the National Transportation Safety Board and the Federal Aviation and Administration joined local law enforcement to talk about what they know so far.

Authorities have released the names of the three people killed in the crash. The pilot was 20-year-old Colbie Fandrich of Wishek and passengers were 38-year-old Christine Fandrich and 10-year-old Aaron Nordstrom both of Bismarck.

The passengers were mother and son and the pilot was their nephew and cousin.

It's a horrible tragedy for the small town of Wishek.

"We were just sitting on our deck and we saw them take off, and the other side of our deck that we are not on was where I guess people saw the crash, but the next thing we know we see the police department, fire department and everybody racing out to the scene. So it was pretty scary, pretty tragic, pretty tragic," says Heidi Nantt, Wishek resident.

The plane crashed into May Lake which is about a half mile away from the Wishek Municipal Airport where it took off from.

"There was no flight plan, there was no air traffic control contact which is not unusual at all. We're obviously in a fairly sparsely populated area," says Mike Folkerts, NTSB.

Folkerts says the 1964 Piper Cherokee aircraft was headed for Bismarck and the 20-year-old pilot did have a private license that allowed him to carry passengers.

A spokesperson with the McIntosh County Sheriff's Department says they haven't had a tragedy of this magnitude happen in over 10 years.

"For all the training that responders go through and us as law enforcement you can never prepare for an incident like this happening, but we still have to do our job even though it hurts and the community is at a big loss," says Laurie Spitzer, McIntosh County Sheriff's Department.

The aircraft was removed from the lake June 10. The FAA is investigating the cause of the crash, and the preliminary report will be released within the next five business days.

The final report for the accident will take six to 12 months, and the probable cause will be released about a month later.


A four-seat airplane crashed in McIntosh County this afternoon, killing the pilot and two passengers.

The 1964 Piper Cherokee departed the Wishek Airport en route to Bismarck when complications during takeoff resulted in the plane crashing into May Lake, approximately 1.5 miles south of Wishek.

The 20-year-old pilot and 10 and 39-year-old passengers all suffered fatal injuries resulting from the crash.