South Dakota surely is abounding with mishaps. After a blizzard wiped out nearly 100,000 cows, a freak accident brought down a plane with 3 on–board passengers.
All 3 passengers, including a person on the ground, died instantly when the plane crashed in South Dakota. The plane is suspected to have collided with a wind turbine at a wind–farm. Debris lay near a wind turbine to the west of South Dakota Highway 47. One of the wind turbines had its blade broken off.
The plane was identified as a single-engine Piper 32, and was traveling from Hereford, Texas, to Gettysburg, South Dakota. The single-engine plane was registered to Donald J. “D.J.” Fischer of Gettysburg, according to the FAA. Though the local authorities haven’t officially released any data, among the deceased was the owner, Fischer, a 30–year, who was believed to be flying the plane himself. Local officials confirmed the identities of 2 other victims: cattlemen Logan Rau and Brent Beitelspacher, who were on the plane. The name of the fourth victim hasn’t been released, though reports indicate his name was Nick Reimann. Beitelspacher and Rau are well-known in the cattle industry, and regularly visited such sales and fairs to trade livestock, reported ABC News.
The plane arrived at the Hereford Municipal Airport Saturday and left the next evening, said Hereford City Manager Rick Hanna. Though it crashed in South Dakota, the plane was returning from a big–range cattle sale in Hereford, Texas. The plane broke contact and went missing overnight. The authorities found wreckage on Monday in the South Dakota Wind Energy Center. The wind farm in Hyde County has 27 turbines and only one had its blade broken off, indicating that the plane might have crashed directly into the turbine and then crashing into the ground, reported Amarillo Global News.
While The National Transportation Safety Board is leading the investigation along with the FAA, locals confirmed that the weather was exceptionally foggy and that visibility was poor. Liberal precipitation, combined with fog, might have caused the pilot to lose altitude and misjudge the distance to the ground. Further, owing to the height of the turbine and continual rotation of the blades could have made spotting it difficult. To further complicate the matter, weather reports indicated low–altitude clouds could have extremely complicated the task of maneuvering a single–engine light aircraft. Apparently the South Dakota skies are notorious for causing such mishaps.
[Images via Bing]