OWATONNA, Minn. A small jet flying from New Jersey to Minnesota crashed in poor weather Thursday, killing seven business travelers.
FAA spokeswoman Elizabeth Isham Cory said the plane went down at or near a regional airport about 60 miles south of the Twin Cities. A line of storm thunderstorms was moving across southern Minnesota at the time.
Cory said authorities believe the aircraft took off from Atlantic City, N.J., but cautioned that the information was preliminary.
The flight-tracking Web site FlightAware.com showed a Raytheon Hawker 800 business jet was due to arrive in Owatonna from Atlantic City at 9:42 a.m. Thursday. The plane was scheduled to leave an hour later for Crossville, Tenn.
The plane was operated by a charter firm called East Coast Jets Inc. A person who answered the phone at the company declined to comment.
The Owatonna People's Press reported the plane was carrying customers to Viracon Inc., an Owatonna-based glass company that earlier this year was awarded a contract to supply glass to the World Trade Center site.
Viracon President Don Pyatt told the newspaper that the customers were from a couple of companies coming to the plant to discuss a project in Las Vegas.
He did not immediately return a call from The Associated Press.
Mary Ann Jackson, a spokeswoman for Viracon's parent company, Apogee Enterprises Inc., confirmed to The Associated Press that the passengers were Viracon customers but declined to elaborate.
Degner Regional Airport's Web site describes it as "ideal for all classes of corporate aircraft" with an all-weather instrument landing system. "Maintaining access to Owatonna's business community in all weather conditions is a priority," the site says.
The thunderstorms brought winds up to 80 mph that knocked out power lines, snapped trees and damaged some buildings.