NTSB investigating fatal plane crash at Sioux Falls Regional Airport
One man is dead after a twin-engine cargo aircraft crashed at the Sioux Falls Regional Airport early Sunday morning.
We’re told that the plane crashed shortly after takeoff around 4:30 a.m.
The plane was headed from Everett, Washington to Huron, South Dakota when it diverted to Sioux Falls just after 1:00 a.m.
The pilot is said to have changed course due to severe weather coming through the area.
The National Transportation Safety Board was unable to confirm at this time if the weather was a factor in the accident.
“We’ll look at everything and we’ll rule things out, issue areas as we find they did not play a role in the accident," NTSB Public Affairs Officer Peter Knudson said. "So, we’re really not even at the ruling out stage yet. We’re documenting, with the FAA will be documenting the accident site.”
Airport Executive Director Dan Letellier says the airport’s air traffic control was not on duty at the time of the crash.
Being a smaller airport, air traffic control doesn’t operate out of Sioux Falls between midnight and 5:00 a.m.
“In this case here, any aircraft that are coming or going into Sioux Falls, you know, they’re communicating with the Minneapolis flight center," Lettelier said. "Typically on average, you know, only a couple flights that come and go in that overnight time period. So, it’s not unusual, it happens in most airports around the country.”
The on-site investigation that is currently being conducted typically lasts one to two days.
“What we’re really wanting is to get that, the wreckage documented, photo-documented," Knudson said.
After that's completed, they’ll release the preliminary investigation, which has three main focuses; the pilot, the machine, and the environment.
“Our goal is to have it out in two weeks," Knudson said. "So, that’ll be coming out fairly quickly. It will not be analytical in nature, in other words, it won’t point to a cause or factors, it will simply state what we know at this point.”
The entire investigation to determine the possible cause and any contributing factors are expected to take anywhere between 12 and 24 months to be complete.
The pilot was the only person on board at the time of the crash. Investigators have not released the victim's identity.