UND student dies in Monday plane crash; university halts flight training

John Hauser was a student majoring in commercial aviation from Chicago, according to a statement from UND President Andrew Armacost.

A North Dakota Highway Patrol officer photographs the scene Tuesday, Oct. 19, 2021, where a UND plane crashed Monday evening in a field near Buxton, N.D., killing the pilot. Photo by Eric Hylden/Grand Forks Herald
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BUXTON, N.D. — A University of North Dakota student suffered fatal injuries during a plane crash in Traill County on Monday, Oct. 18.

A UND plane crashed in a field near 11th Street Northeast and 165th Avenue Northeast on Monday evening southeast of Buxton, a release from the North Dakota Highway Patrol said around 10 p.m. Monday.

The UND student was the pilot of the plane and was pronounced dead on scene. UND sent a message to campus identifying the student as John Hauser.

The crash is under investigation by the North Dakota Highway Patrol and Federal Aviation Administration, along with the Traill County Sheriff's Office.

According to a statement from UND President Andrew Armacost, Hauser, a 19-year-old sophomore, was a student from Chicago majoring in commercial aviation.


“We extend our heartfelt condolences to John’s family, friends, classmates, and fraternity brothers,” Armacost said. “They are all in our thoughts and prayers.”

According to a release from the North Dakota Highway Department, the crash occurred Monday evening in a field southeast of Buxton. The crash is being investigated by the NDHP and Federal Aviation Administration, with the assistance of the Traill County Sheriff’s Office. The Grand Forks and UND police departments are also investigating.

The exact time of the crash isn’t clear. The NDHP said the crash may have happened closer to 7:30 p.m. when some farmers noticed the plane.

Buxton is about 28 miles south of Grand Forks.

In 2007, UND student Adam Ostapenko of Duluth and flight instructor Annette Klosterman of Seattle, died when a UND twin-engine Piper Seminole crashed in a swampy area in central Minnesota on Oct. 23, 2007, according to Forum News Service archives. The National Transportation Safety Board said a bird strike caused the crash. The two were on a routine training flight from St. Paul to Grand Forks.

Armacost said Hauser’s death affects the entire UND campus, and said the university is offering support to students who would like counseling.


According to Armacost’s statement, University Counseling Center staff members are available for crisis sessions any time Monday through Friday, from 8 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. Representatives from the Counseling Center will be available in room 207 of Ryan Hall, for the remainder of this week for anyone who would like to talk with them. People can call 701-777-2127 to schedule an appointment. University Counseling Center will accommodate students’ needs for service on a case by case need. After hours sup[port is available through 24/7 First Link, which can be reached by dialing 211 or calling 701-235-7335.

Armacost said faculty and staff can consult UND’s Employee Assistance Program found online at , or by calling 1-800-627-8220.

“This is a tragic time for John’s family and his friends,” Armacost said. “We must take the time to remember his impact on our campus community and to come together to support one another.”

In response to the crash and death of Hauser, UND has temporarily halted all flight training activities.

According to an email sent to people affiliated with UND Aerospace, Robert Kraus, dean of the John D. Odegard School of Aerospace Sciences, stopped all flight activity for Tuesday in a “safety stand down.” The email informed people of the death of the student, and asked that people not speculate about what caused the crash.

Robert Kraus

The following is the complete text of Kraus’ email to the UND Aerospace community:


“UND Aerospace Family,

"It is with great sadness that I inform you of an aircraft accident on Monday evening which resulted in the death of one of our students on a solo flight. I am placing all UND Aerospace flight training activities (aircraft, ATD, ground briefings) at Grand Forks on a safety stand down for Tuesday, October 19, 2021. Out of respect for the family we stress that you should not speculate about this event and let the investigation take its course.

"There are many factors associated with an event like this and everyone has their own way of processing feelings and emotions. Representatives from the University Counseling Center will be available in Ryan Hall room 207 for the remainder of this week for anyone who would like to talk with them. They are also available by phone at 701-777-7127.”

Related Topics: ACCIDENTS
Adam Kurtz is the community editor for the Grand Forks Herald. He covers higher education and other topics in Grand Forks County and the city.

Kurtz joined the Herald in July 2019. He covered business and county government topics before covering higher education and some military topics.

Tips and story ideas are welcome. Get in touch with him at, or DM at @ByAdamKurtz.

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