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Area business man killed in Eden Prairie plane crash

Wayne Monson is pictured with his Beechcraft twin-engine plane in a recent photo taken by friend Mark Olmstead.

A contractor working with Ratech Machine, Inc. in Osceola was one of two people who died in a plane crash Wednesday morning near Flying Cloud Airport in Eden Prairie, Minn.

Wayne Monson, 53, who worked for the local company, was an experienced pilot who recently purchased a twin-engine Beechcraft.

Wednesday was reportedly his first flight in his new aircraft. The plane had taking off and was reportedly headed to Osceola but Monson immediately turned the plane around toward the Flying Cloud Airport. The reason for the airplanes troubles are yet unknown.

The plane crashed at about 11:38 a.m. and burst into flames.

Monson worked and lived in Osceola and was a Hibbing, Minn. native.

He attended Alliance Church of the Valley in St. Croix Falls on occasion and was a member of one of the church's summer softball league teams.

"Wayne was a man who wanted to fix everything and help everyone," said friend Mark Olmstead of St. Croix Falls. "He was a man of faith, in Christ. And although he could not fix everything and help everyone, as he might want, he was a great help and blessing to his family, friends and work place."

Olmstead said Monson's tragic death will be felt most by his young boys (Brandon, Bradley and Benjamin), his very good friend Ray Richardson, Jr. (of Ratech Machine), and other friends and work associates "who knew his tenacity and adventurist personality."

Monson was the father of six children, and he reportedly enjoyed traveling to Russia on occasion to volunteer at orphanages.

29-year-old Rivka Chayka-Lev of Apple Valley, Minn., was identified Thursday as the second victim in the crash.

Chayka-Lev was a student pilot but was not qualified to fly the craft, and Monson was not a certified flight instructor, officials said.

The NTSB said Monson did not report any problems during the short flight - even though witnesses said it failed to gain much altitude.

Monson was flying to Osceola in northwest Wisconsin to meet his three sons.

One of them said he bought the plane so he could fix it up, and go traveling with those sons.