UPDATE: Names released in the fatal plane crash north of Duluth

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The St. Louis County Sheriff’s Office has confirmed that a plane crashed near the 8300 block of Pequaywan Lake Rd. Both the pilot and passenger were killed.

“What we located was on the north end of this farm field,” said Lieutenant Todd Abernethy of the St. Louis County Sherriff’s Department. “There was a plane approximately 15 to 20 yards back in the woods with the nose down and the tail in the air, and two males inside the aircraft. Aircraft was still intact on impact.”

The St. Louis County Sheriff’s office has released the names of the two victims. Bryan Paul Handyside, 60 years old, from unorganized township 54R13 and Matthew William Joseph, 64, of Duluth died in the accident. Authorities say Handyside, who was piloting the plane, had over 30 years of piloting experience.

“I believe they died on impact,” said Lt. Abernethy. “When you come up on the scene, you don’t know what you’ll find. You’re hoping to find survivors, hoping to find somebody still alive, and they’re okay. But oftentimes, in most cases, they’re not. Most of the time.”

Handyside and Joseph were co-workers at Cirrus. The plane, a 1946 Aeronca 7CCM, with tail number N308ED, was privately owned.

A plane crash near the 8300 block of Pequaywan Lake Road in unorganized township 54R13, northwest of Duluth in St. Louis County.

According to authorities, the Air Force Rescue Coordination Center (AFRCC) in Florida received a notification from the ELT (Emergency locator transmitter) from the airplane early in the morning on Wednesday. AFRCC contacted local authorities.

A WDIO crew on scene spoke with Lt. Todd Abernethy, who said the plane took off from the Duluth International Airport around 8:12 a.m. Wednesday, a beacon was deployed, which indicated something was wrong. Upon arrival, deputies located the crash site in a wooded area to the West of Pequaywan Lake Road and found the pilot and passenger were deceased.

On Wednesday afternoon, Cirrus Aircraft provided a statement about the two men who died.

“On Wednesday 21 June, two Cirrus Aircraft team members were involved in a fatal aircraft accident while on a personal flight in a privately owned aircraft. Both men were long-time, valued team members who made many contributions to both Cirrus Aircraft and general aviation. Our thoughts and prayers are with their families, the Cirrus Aircraft team, and our entire community. We remain in close contact and are supporting their families at this time.”


As of Wednesday afternoon, the cause of the accident is unknown. It is believed the aircraft recently completed an annual inspection and was on a “return to service” flight. The NTSB will be responding to the scene to conduct an investigation.

“The cause of the crash will be investigated by the FAA and the NTSB,” said Lt. Abernethy. “NTSB will be here tomorrow morning to begin the investigation. FAA is already on scene here today.”

Plane crash near the 8300 block of Pequaywan Lake Rd in unorganized township 54R13. (WDIO)

The St. Louis County Rescue Squad, the Pequaywan Township fire department, Mayo ambulance, Midwest Medical Examiner’s Office assisted in the investigation.

This story has been updated with additional information, and the type of plane has been changed from a 1946 Aeronca Cjamp to a 1946 Aeronca 7CCM, with tail number N308ED.