NEW details have emerged from a 2019 plane crash that killed nine members of the same family.
Investigators found that a buildup of ice on the wings and other parts of the plane was a key factor in the fatal crash. It is believed the pilot did not clear the ice before taking off.
A report by the National Transportation Safety Board found that the single-engine aircraft that crashed near Chamberlain, South Dakota on November 30, 2019, didn’t have enough seats for all passengers on board.
It is highly likely that two people were sitting in the aisles when the plane crashed right after takeoff. According to the Sioux Falls Argus Leader, the plane was roughly 100 pounds overweight.
Nine members of the Hansen family from Idaho Falls, Idaho were killed in the crash. The family was returning from a pheasant-hunting trip at the time.
According to the report, the pilot had made multiple errors that inevitably resulted in the crash such as failing to remove all of the show and ice from the aircraft.
However, a witness said pilot Kirkland Hansen had tried to de-ice the plane using rubbing alcohol he had bought nearby.
Reports say he stayed behind on the hunting trip with another family member to use an ice scraper to remove the ice and snow caked onto the aircraft.
Hansen reportedly did this outside instead of taking the plane inside a hanger to clear it off.
“It’s coming off pretty good,” he reportedly told Chamberlain Airport manager Dustin Hrabe, who told investigators Hansen had chipped away at the ice for three hours.
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Carey Story, the owner of the Thunderstik Lodge where the family was staying for their annual hunting trip, said she asked the Hansens to stay another night due to the severe weather.
However, Story claims the pilot refused and argued the family needed to get home. He told Story “the airplane was 98 percent good and the remaining ice would come off during takeoff,” according to the report.
Yet, minutes before takeoff, visible icicles could be seen hanging from the horizontal stabilizer of the aircraft and snow was falling heavily.
According to video from the crash and a transcript of communications with the tower, the runway was also partially covered with snow.
The NTSB reported that the aircraft only climbed 460 feet in the air before crashing less than a mile from the Chamberlain airport.
Kirkland Hansen, executive of the wellness company Kyani, piloted the Pilatus PC-12. He was killed along with his brother Jim and their father Jim Hansen Sr.
Kirkland Hansen’s children, Stockton and Logan; his sons-in-law, Kyle Naylor and Tyson Dennert; and Jim Hansen’s son Jake, and grandson Houston were also killed in the tragic crash.
Josh Hansen, son of Kirkland, and Matt Hansen, son of Jim Jr, survived along with Jim Jr’s son-in-law Thomas Long.
Brian Wood, who owns a funeral home in Idaho Falls, mourned the family on Facebook, calling the Hansen “pillars of our community.”
He added that the family had frequently offered to help people who could not cover their own expenses.
“Our community has a dark cloud over it now,” wrote Wood. “They will never know the many lives they touched.”