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Details revealed in plane crash

BEMIDJI – Some details were revealed Wednesday about the plane crash that killed a Bemidji man Tuesday in Illinois.

Peter Knudson, a spokesman for the National Transportation Safety Board, said the plane piloted by 74-year-old Larry Diffley hit the ground at a “high rate of speed” and left a debris field of 100 yards. There was no post-crash fire.

Diffley, president of Bemidji Aviation Services Inc., took off from Bemidji at about 9:15 a.m., and the plane crashed at about 2:30 p.m. near Wilton, Ill. Knudson said investigators believe his plan was to spend a night in Joliet, Ill., near the crash site.

Diffley was doing pipeline surveillance on behalf of Enbridge Energy, Knudson said. It’s unclear if he was surveying at the time of the crash, Knudson said.

The NTSB is not aware of any distress calls being made, Knudson said.

The cause has not been determined, Knudson said. The NTSB plans to release a preliminary report in the coming days.

John Hageman

John Hageman covers North Dakota politics from the Forum News Service bureau in Bismarck. He attended the University of Minnesota in the Twin Cities, where he studied journalism and political science, and he previously worked at the Grand Forks Herald and Bemidji Pioneer.  

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