A plane crash near Chamberlain, South Dakota on Saturday left nine people dead, including two children.
According to NBC News, “a Pilatus PC-12, a single-engine turboprop passenger plane,” was scheduled to fly from Chamberlain Municipal Airport in South Dakota to Idaho Falls Regional Airport in Idaho over the weekend. But shortly after takeoff, something went wrong.
A tragedy in South Dakota
The plane was just a mile into its flight when it went down in Brule County, South Dakota, NBC reported. But what caused the crash remains unclear.
According to The New York Times, poor weather conditions likely played a role in the disaster. The area was reportedly under a winter storm warning and was experiencing blizzard-like conditions, with a few inches of snow already on the ground when the plane took off.
The aircraft crashed around 12:30 p.m. local time Saturday, according to the local KELOLAND News.
Nine of the 12 people on board, including the pilot, died at the scene. The victims ranged in age from 7 to 81, according to The Guardian.
Three others — a 28-year-old, a 27-year-old, and a 17-year-old — were transported to a local hospital, according to NBC. They remain in critical condition.
In a statement, Brule County State Attorney Theresa Maule thanked first responders and said the local community “has been praying” for those involved in the tragedy.
“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 said, according to The Epoch Times. “Our entire community has been praying for the individuals involved and their families.”
She added that the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) and the National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) “have been notified and will investigate.”
Among the questions they’re trying to answer: why was the plane even allowed to take off? The National Weather Service (NWS) in Rapid City, South Dakota reported “white-out conditions” early Saturday morning, and reports indicated that visibility was limited in the area.
But whatever the cause, it’s clear that the community has been rocked by this holiday weekend tragedy. All we can do now is pray that the survivors will pull through.