WSAW NewsChannel 7  | Central WI, Wausau, Rhinelander  |  News, Weather, Sports

Former Star Athlete Jumps Out Window as Plane Hits His Home


A deadly plane crash in Minnesota on Friday is still under investigation.

Investigators said two people were killed when a single-engine private plane they were in, crashed into a home.

It all happened Friday around 8:30 p.m. in Sauk Rapids, Minnesota, just north of Saint Cloud. There was one person inside the home when the plane crashed.

His name is Kole Heckendorf, a Mosinee native and former Mosinee High School football star that was an undrafted free agent for the Packers in 2009.

He didn't get signed to the team, but did sign on with the Detroit Lions, Seattle Seahawks, San Diego Chargers, and Indianapolis Colts.

NewsChannel 7 spoke with his father who said Kole told him he looked down the hallway and saw flames shooting towards him when the crash happened. He grabbed a blanket and busted the window with his forearm, jumped out from the second story and landed on his feet without a scratch on him.

"When he walked around the corner, the neighbors were just absolutely shocked that he was standing there," said his father Bart Heckendorf. "The fire marshal told him that had he been in any other place in that home, other than the room he was in, he would not have survived that blast."

He said investigators later told Kole the plane came through the kitchen, hitting the stairs, went into the basement and exploded.

"We are extremely blessed," said his father. "It was nothing short of a miracle. It was a miracle that he survived the explosion when the plane hit. He got knocked down. He got back up, made a split second decision."

The house belongs to Heckendorf's brother-in-law. Heckendorf's wife, her brother, and another woman living at the home were all out of town when the plane hit. Heckendorf and his wife, who recently got married, were planning on moving out this coming weekend. They lost everything they owned, but all of their wedding gifts were kept elsewhere and were saved, giving them a truly fresh start to their new lives together. Heckendorf told his dad it's just less they'll have to move.


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