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Hastings men are fine after emergency plane landing

Two Hastings, Minn., men unexpectedly landed their plane Sunday morning in a Rock Elm, Wis., field after the engine failed.

Stephen Weber, 58, and Leon McNamara, 64, were flying from a private airstrip in Hastings to the Log Cabin Airport near Mondovi, Wis., when the engine stalled and forced an emergency landing in a soybean field.

"It was just an off-field landing," Weber, the pilot, said. "They're not uncommon."

The incident was not a crash, he said. The plane slid about 70 feet before coming to a stop, but it landed upright and intact.

Both men were transported by ambulance to River Falls (Wis.) Area Hospital, but were treated and released.

The aircraft was recovered from the field later that afternoon and will be repaired, he said. The plane was an Acro Sport II bi-wing plane with an open cockpit owned by Weber's father. They built the plane in 1992.

The emergency landing was reported to the Pierce County Sheriff's Department shortly after 9 a.m.

"The people over there couldn't have been nicer," Weber said of the responders.

Weber doesn't know yet what caused the engine to stall. The Federal Aviation Administration is investigating to determine the cause of the engine failure, he said.

Katrina Styx is a reporter at the Hastings (Minn.) Star-Gazette, which is owned by Forum Communications Co.