St. Cloud Area Native One of Three Killed in Helicopter Crash

St. Cloud Area Native One of Three Killed in Helicopter Crash Click to Enlarge Photo: Minnesota National Guard

(KNSI) - One of the three service members killed in a UH-60 Black Hawk helicopter crash was originally from the St. Cloud area.

28-year-old Sergeant Kort Plantenberg was born in St. Cloud and graduated from Albany Area High School in 2009 and enlisted in the National Guard in 2016 as an aircraft electrician.

Major Sean Spencer, who worked with Plantenberg, praised his intelligence, explaining the preparation he had done before applying to warrant officer training.

"Kort was a super smart, super smart individual. Always happy. He kind of amazed me. So we had a flight operation specialist position open up that he applied for. His name was forwarded as one of the candidates. So with a day's notice, Kort came up and asked for study materials so he could kind of get a leg up and figure out what the job was all about and entailed. Within a day's time, Kort had memorized all the regulations to include the paragraphs, so we would ask him a question, Kort was able to name the paragraph, or name the regulation and the paragraph. He would say that 'I don't know what it says, but I know that's where you find it.' So yeah. So very impressive. Very impressive."

Flight paramedic Nicholas Arrigoni, who was deployed with Kort, called him a friend and brother and said Plantenberg was extremely dedicated, working long hours and had his goal set on becoming a pilot.

Plantenberg's family issued a statement following his death, saying, "This is a time of unimaginable loss, sadness, and sorrow for our family. Kort was everything to us - a kind, loving son and brother as well as an incredibly dedicated and loyal friend, neighbor, Correctional Officer and Guardsman. It's impossible to envision life without him.

"We are deeply grateful for the tremendous outpouring of love and support from family, friends, the Saint John's monastic community, and people throughout Central Minnesota and the State.

"We ask that during this time of grieving that people respect our need for privacy. We want to express our sympathies and offer our prayers to the families of the other two Guardsmen who perished in this unfortunate and tragic accident. We take comfort in our faith, the love of family and friends, and the knowledge that Kort died doing what he loved best: serving his country and pursuing his life-long dream to be a Black Hawk helicopter pilot."

Major Spencer also expressed his sympathies, saying, "I'd just like to send my condolences to his family, and I just hope that they find peace, and they're doing well."

He was living in Avon at the time of the crash.

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