Storm Does Heavy Damage at Small North Dakota Airport

July 11, 2013

The airport in the western North Dakota town of Killdeer is being cleaned up after a storm destroyed a hangar and damaged three airplanes.

Storms that moved through the region Monday night ripped apart the hangar and flipped the Cessna planes, tossing them about 75 yards – nearly the length of a football field. Debris from the hangar was strewn over a quarter-mile.

The three pilots storing planes at the airport had kept them in the hangar rent-free with the understanding that the building was old and it was at their own risk. The pilots had spent many hours making improvements to the building, though, Airport Authority vice chairman Mike Schollmeyer told The Bismarck Tribune and The Forum.

“To have all that blow away is a real tragedy,” he said.

Randy Sandvick, who lives in the area, said his damaged plane was valued at $28,000. Merlin Johnson, of Lake Havasu, Ariz., told the Tribune that this plane was worth $40,000.

“We needed a new hangar … but not new planes,” Sandvick said.

The airport, which has seen a surge in use because of oil activity in the region, was going to begin repairs to its runway this week, Schollmeyer said.

“Now we’ll be cleaning up wrecked airplanes and hangar parts,” he said.

The storms packed heavy rain and winds up to 80 mph, which damaged trees, houses, farm buildings, campers and power poles throughout the region, according to National Weather Service reports.

“It sounded like a north wind in the winter,” rural Halliday resident Muffin McLoud told the Tribune. “It just howled … I’ve never heard anything like that in July.”

Dunn County Emergency Manager Denise Brew told KXMB-TV that one person in Killdeer was hospitalized when a mobile home was blown over. She did not identify the person and did not know the person’s condition.

Topics Windstorm Aviation North Dakota

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