2 Prominent Businessmen, 7 Others Dead in South Dakota Plane Crash

By Jack Phillips
Jack Phillips
Jack Phillips
Breaking News Reporter
Jack Phillips is a senior reporter for The Epoch Times based in New York. He covers breaking news.
December 1, 2019Updated: December 1, 2019

A plane crash in South Dakota on Saturday left nine people dead, including members of a family from Idaho.

Prominent businessmen Jim and Kirk Hansen were confirmed dead in the crash, KIFI reported. The Hansens own K & J Super Stores, oil firm Conrad and Bischoff, and they also founded health and wellness company Kyani.

Two children and four other males also reportedly died in the crash.

Three other passengers survived the crash and are being treated at a nearby hospital.

Epoch Times Photo
Jim Hansen Jr. and Kirk Hansen (Photo courtesy of Kyani)

Family friends said the two businessmen were on a Thanksgiving hunting trip in South Dakota and were coming back home.

The small plane, a Pilatus PC-12, took off at around 12:30 p.m. local time at the Chamberlain Municipal Airport for Idaho Falls, Idaho. The area was under a winter storm warning, and the National Weather Service (NWS) said visibility was limited, East Idaho News reported.

The Federal Aviation Administration, in a statement, told the news outlet that the plane went down about one mile from the airport.

“The men and women of law enforcement, first responders and medical professionals should be commended in their heroic actions to rescue the victims in extreme weather conditions,” Brule County State Attorney Theresa Maule said. “Our entire community has been praying for the individuals involved and their families.”

“The FFA and NTSB have been notified and will investigate,” she also told East Idaho News. “The men and women of law enforcement, first responders and medical professionals should be commended in their heroic actions to rescue the victims in extreme weather conditions.”

According to the Pilatus website, “PC-12s are in use around the world with owner-pilots, corporations, charter and fractional companies, air ambulances, special missions, cargo and law enforcement agencies. This extreme diversity gives owners confidence that their investment in a PC-12 NGX is a sound decision.” The airplanes are made in Switzerland.

The number of people who died in plane crashes spiked in 2018, according to a new report.

The NTSB said earlier this month that civil aviation fatalities rose from 347 in 2017 to 393 in 2018, CNN reported. That’s an increase of 13 percent over the prior year.

“It is disappointing to see the fatal general aviation accident rate increase after two years with the rate below 1 per 100,000 flight hours,” NTSB Chairman Robert L. Sumwalt said in a statement about the fatality total.

Most of the fatalities occurred during general aviation, including private and recreational flying, the report said.

“It’s a very good safety record, but still, one fatality is certainly one too many,” Sumwalt also noted. “Our real mission is to investigate transportation accidents to determine the probable cause, and most importantly, issue safety recommendations so that they don’t happen again,” Sumwalt said.

According to the CBC, a small family of five died just several days ago over the Thanksgiving holiday when their small plane crashed near the U.S.-Canada border.

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