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Itasca County Mourns Three Killed in Canadian Plane Crash

Updated: 08/14/2014 10:16 AM
Created: 08/10/2014 7:02 PM WDIO.com
By: Briggs LeSavage
blesavage@wdio.com

Itasca County community members are sharing sentiments about three beloved residents who passed away in a plane crash in Canada Friday. 

37-year old Lynn Bohanon of Grand Rapids, 41-year old Nik Ivar Rajala and 40-year old Teresa Rajala, both of Cohasset, were fishing on Chappie Lake Friday. Ontario Provincial Police said it was around 4 p.m. that day that the trio's Cessna 182 crashed near the lake. 

Rusty Eichorn had been dating Lynn for six years. He said all three of the passengers were his close friends, and they all enjoyed flying. 

"It's a quiet sad day for Northbound Sea Plane Base and for the aviation community of Grand Rapids. Lynn and Nik and Teresa were all loved and respected by so many people," Rusty said. "There's a hole in everybody's hearts the size of Manhattan. This is a tough one to take."

Andy MacDonell met Nik in the eighth grade. He said Nik had always wanted to learn to fly, and that being able to take his wife and friends fishing was a big goal of his. As a part of Nik and Teresa's wedding, Andy said he knew both of them very well. 

"(Teresa) was a beautiful girl and she loved to go fishing. She enjoyed the outdoors tremendously and her garden."

He said fishing was another love of hers. 

"We always imitate her in this time of sadness here. Teresa's constant reaction for fishing when they would catch fish, she would get so excited and we would almost yell at her because she would almost tip the boat over she would stand up and scream and holler," Andy said. 

Rusty said the Rajala's were prominent figures in the state's logging industry.

"As much as they loved to harvest trees, they loved to regrow trees, and they were so good at it," Rusty said. "They were very respectful of renewing a resource that is renewable. The timber industry is king in Itasca County and the Rajala's were at the center of that."

Allison Rajala Ahcan, Nik's oldest sister, said it was that love for the outdoors and adventure that she will remember most. 

"Nik Rajala's the kind of guy that lived large," Allison said. "Everything was an adventure, a challenge. In addition he just had the hugest heart, and he invited others into his adventures and into his love of the great outdoors. So I'll always remember his great heart and the way he lived in a really big way."

Rusty said it's Lynn's smile and adventurous spirit that he'll miss the most. 

"She was loved and respected by so many people, as were the pilot and his wife in the airplane," Rusty said. "It's a huge tragedy for the city of Grand Rapids and all of Itasca County."

Lynn Bohanon
Courtesy: Lynn Bohanon, Facebook
Nik Rajala
Courtesy: Rusty Eichorn
Teresa Rajala
Courtesy: Lisa Rajala

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