Dairy farm owner, son-in-law and pilot killed in plane crash

CARROLL COUNTY, Ind. - Pagel family statement:

Many of you heard our family and extended family is grieving the loss of owner, father, person and friend, John T. Pagel, as well as John’s son-in-law, Steven Witcpalek, and pilot Nathan Saari. We appreciate the outpouring of the communities thoughts and prayers and request your respect for the privacy of the family as we wait for additional information. As we know more details we will keep you informed.

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Kewaunee County Board Chairman Robert Weidner and Administrator Scott Feldt joint statement:

We wish to convey our personal heartfelt sympathies to the Pagel and Witcpalek families, while the Kewaunee County Board and the Kewaunee County government join us in expressing our sincere condolences at this tragic moment. Our thoughts and prayers are with those family members and friends.

Few men can claim to have had a greater impact on the county, the region and indeed the nation than John Pagel, who was an unparalleled leader in his industry. John's legacy will be evident in what he has done for Kewaunee County and all of the people he has touched. We have much to learn from John’s achievements and will no doubt look to his legacy for inspiration for years to come. Kewaunee has lost a leader; the dairy industry has lost a strong advocate; and most importantly we have lost a father and a friend. There is simply no replacement for what Mr. Pagel represented and what he contributed to our county and to the dairy industry. We have a lot to be thankful for because of John. He is a loved and respected man, and he will be missed by many.

We ask that the media please respect the family’s privacy during this time of mourning.

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ROSSVILLE, Ind. (AP/WGBA) -- Authorities say no one survived when a small Green Bay-bound plane carrying three people crashed into a central Indiana farm field.

Kewaunee County businessman John Pagel and his son-in-law, Steve Witcpalek, were killed along with the pilot.

Pagel, CEO of Pagel's Ponderosa Dairy, also served on the Kewaunee County Board and Kewaunee School District Board.

Carroll County Sheriff Tobe Leazenby says the plane crashed Thursday night just north of Rossville, Indiana. The rural area is about 60 miles northwest of Indianapolis.

Indiana State Police say the plane was a Cessna 441 Conquest Turboprop. It had taken off from the Eagle Creek Airport in Indianapolis and was headed to Green Bay, Wisconsin.

State Police spokesman Sgt. Kim Riley said early Friday that investigators hadn't yet confirmed how many people were on the plane. He says wreckage was spread over a large area. Officials haven't released identities of those killed.

Federal aviation investigators were expected at the scene Friday.

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