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Mystery plane at Camp Leif Ericson raising questions in Sioux Falls

Published: Nov. 23, 2021 at 4:00 PM CST
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SIOUX FALLS, S.D. (Dakota News Now) - A plane, dismantled in a grove of trees between Tuthill and Pasley Park in Sioux Falls is raising some questions.

A Dakota News Now viewer sent in a photo, asking about what she thought was a potential unreported plane crash.

A Dakota News Now viewer sent in a photo, asking about what she thought was a potential...
A Dakota News Now viewer sent in a photo, asking about what she thought was a potential unreported plane crash.(Dakota News Now)

If you’re from the area, you may know the back story of this plane. But, if you’re seeing it for the first time, it could be alarming.

Mike Murphy, the director of Camp Leif Ericson, says the plane is part of one of the camp’s team-building exercises called “The Amazon Valley.”

“It’s based around a storyline that there was an airplane crash and the campers need to work together to survive,” Murphy said.

Thankfully, there is no real danger associated with this Cessna 152.

“Back in the early 2000′s, we were notified that there had been a local airplane that had been damaged to the point where it was no longer flyable, and those individuals were kind enough to donate it to us, and it fits right along with our storyline for the Amazon Valley, so we were fortunate to bring it out here, reassemble it, and it’s been a focal point ever since,” Murphy said.

The prop has only enhanced the long-standing activity.

“If you ask a lot of former campers, it’s one of their fondest memories of being out here,” Murphy said.

However, the plane has raised plenty of questions since it was first brought to camp.

“We were fielding phone calls pretty much on a weekly basis, and in fact we even had a few firetrucks show up to check it out as well,” Murphy said.

Murphy says it’s easy to understand why there could be red flags. As cars pass by on I-229 and people frequent the trail system just across the Big Sioux River.

“It’s just part of the experience for our campers and nothing you need to be worried about,” Murphy said.

For more information about Leif Ericson Camp and the activities offered there, click here.

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