(Posted online at 5:57 a.m., Sunday, Dec. 1)
The nine people killed and three injured in an airplane crash in a winter snow storm just south of Chamberlain, South Dakota, were part of an Idaho family returning from a weekend hunting trip, according to the East Idaho News.
In a story posted about 11 p.m., Saturday, Nov. 30, the news organization reported that the family was returning to Idaho Saturday.
Nine of the 12 people on board died, according to the Brule County State’s Attorney Theresa Maule Rossow.
She posted a message on social media on Saturday:
“I would like to thank all the agencies that assisted with the tragic incident in Brule County today,” Maule Rossow said. “This afternoon a plane crashed in rural Brule County. 12 souls were on board, nine perished including two minor children and the pilot. The three survivors are being transported to Sioux Falls for treatment. The plane left Chamberlain in route to the State of Idaho. The FAA and NTSB have been notified and will investigate the crash. The men and women of law enforcement, first-responders and medical professionals should be commended in their heroic actions to rescue the victims in the extreme weather conditions.”
The crash happened within about a mile, southwest of Chamberlain, which would be in or near the breaks along the Missouri River.
About 12:30 p.m., Saturday afternoon, Nov. 30, the Swiss-made Pilatus PC-12 turbo-prop took off from the Chamberlain airport to return to Idaho Falls, according to news accounts..
It’s the same aircraft purchased last year to serve as Avera St. Mary’s Hospital’s air ambulance, stationed at the Pierre Regional Airport. It’s known for being a sturdy aircraft able to land in a variety of conditions, experts say.
Weather conditions were critical, as a winter storm moved across the area. Interstate 90 from Wyoming border to Chamberlain, which is on the east bank of the Missouri River, southeast of Pierre, was closed Friday and remained closed into Sunday, a spokeswoman for the state Department of Transportation said. Several inches of snow had fallen across the region by Saturday noon, including Chamberlain, and more fell later Saturday, according to the National Weather Service.
At 12:15 p.m., Saturday, at the Chamberlain airport, it was 33 degrees, with 100 percent humidity — indicating probably some precipitation — with a maximum wind gusts of 25 mph from the northeast, Scott Doering of the National Weather Service office in Aberdeen, told the Capital Journal.
At a nearby weather observation site in Winner, 58 miles south-southwest from Chamberlain, at 11 a.m., Saturday, it was 32 degrees with heavy snow and gusting winds from the northwest, indicating the active surface low-pressure was in that area affecting the weather, Doering said.
The three who survived the crash were taken to a Sioux Falls hospital.
The nine who died included Jim Hansen Sr., his sons Kirk and Jim Hansen Jr., and six other family members who died in the crash, relatives told the East Idaho News.
The three Hansen men were executives with Conrad & Bischoff, Kyani and KJ’s Super Stores and the father and two sons “served in prominent positions with the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints,” the East Idaho News reported.
The Federal Aviation Administration and the National Transportation Safety Board are investigating the crash.