At least nine people died and several more were injured in a plane crash in South Dakota on Saturday, according to news reports.
Peter Knudson with the National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) told USA Today that 12 people were on board when a Pilatus PC-12 crashed after taking off from Chamberlain, located more than 100 miles west of Sioux Falls.
The plane was heading to Idaho Falls, Idaho, said officials.
NTSB investigating today’s crash of Pilatus PC-12 near Chamberlain, SD.
— NTSB_Newsroom (@NTSB_Newsroom) November 30, 2019
“The FFA and NTSB have been notified and will investigate,” Brule County State Attorney Theresa Maule 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.”
Two children are among those who perished in the crash, KSFY-TV reported. The pilot of the plane also died.
Chamberlain and central south-central South Dakota were both under winter storm warnings when the crash occurred, the Argus Leader newspaper reported.
The weather agency said that visibility was a half a mile with light winds reported around the airport in Chamberlain.
Nearby Interstate 90 has been closed all day from Chamberlain to the Wyoming border, the report said.
KELO reported that the plane crashed in a cornfield.
Other details about the crash are not clear.
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.