Nine family members killed in South Dakota plane crash

SOUTH DAKOTA (AP) – Federal investigators arrived yesterday at the South Dakota site where nine members of an extended Idaho family were killed in a plane crash.

President of the wellness company Kyani Travis Garza said in a Facebook post last Sunday that the crash near Chamberlain on Saturday afternoon killed brothers and founders Jim and Kirk Hansen. Garza said the crash also killed their father, Jim Hansen Sr; Kirk Hansen’s children, Stockton and Logan; his sons-in-law, Kyle Taylor and Tyson Dennert; and Jim Hansen’s son, Jake, and grandson, Houston.

Garza identified the injured as Kirk’s son, Josh, and Jim’s son, Matt, and son-in-law, Thomas Long. All three were hospitalised.

The Hansens were executives with Kyani, which markets nutritional, health and wellness products, as well as with petroleum products distributor Conrad & Bischoff and KJ’s Super Stores.

East Idaho News, which first identified the victims, reported that the party had been on a hunting trip to South Dakota, one of the nation’s top destinations for pheasants.

Brian Wood, owner of a funeral home in Idaho Falls, lamented the deaths on Facebook. He called the Hansens “pillars of our community” and wrote that they had offered many times over the years to help pay expenses for someone who might not be able to afford it.

“Our community has a dark cloud over it now,” Wood wrote. “They will never know the many lives they touched.”

Twelve people were aboard the Pilatus PC-12 bound for Idaho Falls when it crashed within a mile after takeoff in Chamberlain about 12.30pm last Saturday, National Transportation Safety Board spokesman Peter Knudson said.

Federal investigators – one from Washington, DC, and two from the Chicago area – reached the crash site yesterday, Knudson said.

Local authorities were guarding the site last Sunday.

Chamberlain and parts of South Dakota were under a winter storm warning on Saturday and Brule County emergency manager Katheryn Benton said planes were unable to land at Chamberlain at the time of the crash.