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Three area men die in plane crash

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Ted Sullivan
June 25, 2009
— Three local friends were on their way to South Dakota to hunt prairie dogs when their plane crashed Tuesday in northwest Iowa, friends and family said.

Malcolm McMillan, 65, Milton; Thomas Boos, 60, Fort Atkinson, and Francis Allegretti, 64, Cambridge, died when the 1968 single-engine Piper 28 crashed at 11 a.m. near Sheldon, Iowa, according to the O'Brien County, Iowa, Sheriff's Office.


McMillan was a building contractor who owned a business with his son, said his wife, Dickie McMillan. He had three sons, two daughters and 11 grandchildren.


"He was the love of my life, and he still is the love of my life," she said. "He is just a good, good man. It is like anybody he touched became a friend."


Malcolm was a pilot who served as co-chair of flight safety for the annual Experimental Aircraft Association fly-in and convention in Oshkosh, she said.


It was the first time he planned to hunt prairie dogs in South Dakota, she said.


"This was to be a wonderful pleasure trip," she said. "My husband said a good day was jumping on his Harley and driving to the airport to go flying."


Boos worked at Ladish Malting Co. in Jefferson for 27 years, said his wife, Nancy Boos. After retiring, he worked part-time at McIntyre Floral to stay busy.


"He just loved to deliver flowers, especially when he delivered them to little ladies," she said. "He'd put a smile on their faces."


He flew ultralight planes, hunted and fished, she said.


Boos and Allegretti had gone on a prairie dog hunting trip last year and had fun, she said. They also hunted pheasants and deer together.


Allegretti's family members could not be reached for comment, but Nancy Boos said Allegretti was a "good guy."


Allegretti owned rental property in Janesville, and Thomas Boos would help him with maintenance projects, Nancy Boos said.


The two met McMillan at the Fort Atkinson Municipal Airport, where they all have aircraft hangars, she said. Their hunting trip was to be in Winner, S.D.


Allegretti was found in the pilot's seat, said Jerome Goodger, Milton. Goodger co-owned the plane with McMillan, a former classmate and lifelong friend.


Allegretti was a visual flight rules pilot with years of experience flying similar planes, he said.


McMillan and Goodger co-owned the aircraft for about seven years, Goodger said.


"It had been completely refurbished," he said. "It was a good airplane."


Allen Schuknecht, O'Brien County sheriff's chief deputy, told Iowa newspapers it was cloudy and gusty when the plane crashed.


Witnesses who live near the crash scene told the Sioux Falls Argus Leader newspaper that the pilot might have been trying to land in a field and hit a ditch.


Witnesses told the newspaper the plane remained intact at the crash site and was not on fire.


Federal Aviation Administration spokesman Tony Molinaro said no flight plan was filed.


The cause of the crash remains under investigation.


"They're going to have to try and piece it together from evidence they find at the site," Goodger said.


National Transportation Safety Board officials did not return a message seeking comment.


The Associated Press contributed to this report

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