A plane crash in a South Dakota corn­field has left nine peo­ple dead, in­clud­ing a pi­lot and two chil­dren.

Chil­dren, pi­lot among the dead; 3 male sur­vivors taken to Sioux Falls

The Washington Post - - FRONT PAGE - BY HAN­NAH KNOWLES AND KIM BELL­WARE han­[email protected]­post.com kim.bell­[email protected]­post.com

Nine peo­ple, in­clud­ing a pi­lot and two chil­dren, are dead af­ter a plane crashed in a South Dakota corn­field amid rough weather, of­fi­cials say.

Twelve peo­ple were on­board mid­day Satur­day when the plane went down in ru­ral Brule County en route from Chamberlai­n to Idaho, Brule County State’s At­tor­ney Theresa Maule Ros­sow said. Sur­vivors were taken to hos­pi­tals around Sioux Falls, S.D., for treat­ment.

The pas­sen­gers, part of a hunt­ing party, ranged in age from 7 to 81, and the three sur­vivors are men, ages 17, 27 and 28, Brule County Emer­gency Man­ager Kath­eryn Ben­ton said.

The most crit­i­cally in­jured per­son had sev­eral bone frac­tures, she said. In­for­ma­tion on the oth­ers’ con­di­tions was not im­me­di­ately avail­able.

Au­thor­i­ties have not iden­ti­fied the vic­tims, but peo­ple in Idaho Falls, Idaho, mourned a fam­ily that one lo­cal busi­ness owner called “pil­lars in the com­mu­nity” in a post on­line.

Among the dead are ex­ec­u­tives Kirk and Jim Hansen, ac­cord­ing to a state­ment from Kyäni Vi­sion Group, a team within a well­ness prod­uct com­pany the men founded. The Hansens’ fa­ther, Jim Hansen Sr., and other rel­a­tives also died, friends said.

The Hansens held lead­er­ship po­si­tions in other com­pa­nies, in­clud­ing a fam­ily petroleum busi­ness, ac­cord­ing to Kyäni’s web­site. Ac­quain­tances said they were also ac­tive in the Church of Je­sus Christ of Lat­ter-day Saints.

“Their in­flu­ence in the com­mu­nity and church will be heav­ily felt,” Kevin Call, a friend of the fam­ily, told East Idaho News.

“They weren’t showy but quiet, heavy con­trib­u­tors.”

The Na­tional Trans­porta­tion Safety Board is in­ves­ti­gat­ing the crash of the Pi­la­tus PC-12. Ben­ton said she be­lieves a “com­bi­na­tion of sev­eral weather fac­tors” con­trib­uted to the crash.

Peo­ple across South Dakota had been ad­vised against travel amid stormy con­di­tions that in­ten­si­fied af­ter Thanks­giv­ing, she said, and no land­ings were al­lowed at Chamberlai­n’s air­port when the plane went down. An in­ter­state high­way was also closed from the town to Wy­oming.

Chamberlai­n and other parts of South Dakota were un­der a win­ter storm warn­ing un­til noon Sun­day, ac­cord­ing to the Na­tional Weather Ser­vice in Sioux Falls. The Weather Ser­vice cau­tioned of ice, snow and winds of up to 40 mph as bad weather across the coun­try was pre­dicted to hit mil­lions of trav­el­ers re­turn­ing home af­ter Thanks­giv­ing.

Con­di­tions in Chamberlai­n could hin­der travel, and “patchy blow­ing snow could sig­nif­i­cantly re­duce vis­i­bil­ity,” the Weather Ser­vice ad­vi­sory stated.

The con­di­tions de­layed ef­forts to in­spect the scene, au­thor­i­ties said, though the bod­ies were re­moved from the wreck­age by Satur­day af­ter­noon. In­ves­ti­ga­tors ar­rived Sun­day morn­ing and re­main on the scene, Ben­ton said.

The Fed­eral Avi­a­tion Ad­min­is­tra­tion also has been no­ti­fied, ac­cord­ing to Maule Ros­sow.

“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,” Maule Ros­sow said in a state­ment.

All peo­ple on the downed plane were from Idaho, she said.

A fi­nal report an­a­lyz­ing the cause of the crash could take one to two years, but a pre­lim­i­nary report will be out within two weeks, ac­cord­ing to NTSB spokesman Peter Knud­son.

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