CHAMBERLAIN, S.D. (CBS/KELO) — Heavy snow and high winds were the conditions as first responders went to search for a downed plane in South Dakota this weekend. Nine people died and three were seriously injured.
In this photo, taken Monday in Chamberlain, South Dakota, an National Transportation Safety Board air safety investigator begins the initial examination of the wreckage of the Pilatus PC-12 that crashed on Nov. 30, 2019, at 12:30 p.m. CT shortly after departure from Chamberlain Municipal Airport. (Source; NTSB).
Three National Transportation Safety Board investigators arrived at the scene Monday, which is about a mile north of the Chamberlain Municipal Airport. Weather conditions prevented investigators from getting there this weekend.
This is our first look at the wreckage of the deadly plane crash near Chamberlain.
Monday night, as federal investigators examine what's left of the single engine plane, local law enforcement patrols the entrance to the cornfield where the plane went down early Saturday afternoon.
It crashed at about 12:30, not long after taking off from the Chamberlain Municipal Airport.
Kurt Kelsey is the fire chief for the Chamberlain Oacoma Fire Department. His crew and other agencies responded to the crash.
"I've been on the department for 27 years, this is the a first time for everybody," Kelsey said. "We sent three trucks out there, a total of 18 guys from our department there, otherwise police and law enforcement were first on scene."
Kelsey says the winter conditions made it difficult to get to the crash.
"Conditions right there at the time, the roads were very slippery, snowing heavily, very bad conditions when we were at the scene, so yes it was hard to get to," Kelsey said.
Kelsey says local crews spent several hours on scene. Now federal officials are investigating.
"Our thoughts and prayers go out just go out to the families," Kelsey said.
Three NTSB investigators are at the scene. They are expected to complete their work in South Dakota by the weekend. A preliminary report will be released in about two weeks.
The victims in the crash were from Idaho.
The family was returning home from a hunting trip when their small plane went down.
Businessmen Kirk and Jim Hansen have been identified as two of the victims. Kirk's son Stockton Hansen is also believed to be among the dead. He recently married.
The passengers ranged in age from 7 to 81.