GUTHRIE CENTER, Iowa -- A co-pilot in the Friday plane crash that killed four northwest Iowa people apparently tried to take over the controls after the pilot suffered a heart attack.
Guthrie County Deputy Todd Thorn said Sunday afternoon that 36-year-old Patrick Kellen, reportedly a student pilot who sat in the co-pilot's seat of the 1979 Piper single-engine plane, tried to take control of the plane after the pilot, 49-year-old Edward Anderson, suffered a heart attack.
Des Moines Air Traffic control requested an emergency landing at the Guthrie Center airport at around 5 p.m., but Kellen was apparently unable to get the plane to the airport. The sheriff's office said the plane crashed "very hard" in a cow pasture southwest of Guthrie Center, and searchers found the wreckage Saturday morning.
Four people were killed in the crash -- 15-year-old Samantha Clark, 28-year-old Tyler Douvia, and Kellen and Anderson. The group was heading to Osceola, Iowa, for a hunting trip. All were from Le Mars except Douvia, who resided in Merrill.
Thorn said Kellen was Clark's stepfather, but he was unsure of how the others in the plane were related.
Darrell Boggs, a friend of Anderson, said in a message Sunday afternoon that the city of Le Mars was hit hard by the loss.
"(Anderson) was an amazing person," Boggs said in a message. "Always willing to help another no matter what and a beautiful soul with a contagious personality."
Boggs said Anderson worked as a licensed electrician, and had been a pilot for a number of years.
Anderson, who was a custom motorcycle enthusiast in addition to his flying, was featured on the cover of Popular Mechanics magazine in November 1998. "Eddie could do a lot of things," Boggs said.
"I know he would have felt horrible for what happened and would have done anything in his power to land that plane if he could have," he said.
Friday's crash was the deadliest in Iowa since Feb. 16, 2007, when a Cessna 240A plane crashed near Council Bluffs, killing all four occupants. That crash was caused by inclement winter weather, according to data from the National Transportation Safety Board.
The FAA is expected to launch an investigation into the crash. All four bodies were taken to the Iowa Medical Examiner's Office for autopsies.