Nine people, including two children, were killed Saturday when the small plane they were aboard crashed shortly after takeoff in South Dakota, officials said. The plane ― a Pilatus PC-12 ― had reportedly been traveling in “blizzard-like” conditions when the deadly accident occurred.
Twelve people, all of them from Idaho, were on board the single-engine turboprop plane, Brule County State’s Attorney Theresa Maule Rossow told The Washington Post. The aircraft, which had been headed to Idaho Falls, took off around noon from Chamberlain Municipal Airport. It crashed soon after.
Rossow said in a statement that the pilot and eight passengers died in the accident.
The three survivors were transported to hospitals in Sioux Falls, South Dakota, for treatment. All three were in critical condition, said Michael Geheren, a reporter with local station KELO-TV.
The National Weather Service had warned of winter storm conditions and poor visibility in Chamberlain and other parts of South Dakota this weekend.
Rossow said “heroic” law enforcement personnel and first responders had braved “extreme weather conditions” to rescue the crash victims.
Geheren noted that it had been difficult to get photos or video of the crash site due to the rough weather.
The Brule Buffalo County Emergency District said Saturday’s crash was likely weather-related, CNN reported.
The network added that the Federal Aviation Administration and National Transportation Safety Board had launched probes into the accident.