9 Family Members Die in Plane Crash During Storm in South Dakota, Officials Say

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A dozen family members were returning home from a hunting trip in South Dakota when their small plane, flying in blizzard-like conditions, crashed shortly after takeoff on Saturday. Nine people, including two children, were killed, the authorities said.

Jim Hansen and Kirk Hansen, brothers and founders of Kyäni, a health and wellness company, died in the crash, according to a statement posted by Travis Garza, the company’s president.

The two men were also executives with Conrad & Bischoff, a family-owned petroleum business, and KJ’s Super Stores, a chain of gas stations, carwashes and convenience stores in Idaho, Nevada, Utah and Wyoming.

Members of four generations of the family died, according to the statement.

The victims included Jim Hansen and Kirk Hansen’s father, James. Also killed were Kirk Hansen’s sons Stockton and Logan; and Kyle Taylor and Tyson Dennert, his sons-in-law.

Jim Hansen’s son Jake, and Houston, his grandson, also died, Mr. Garza said in the statement.

The hunting party’s ages ranged from 7 to 81, according to Katheryn Q. Benton, the Brule Buffalo County emergency manager.

The Pilatus PC-12, a single-engine turboprop, had been traveling from Chamberlain, S.D., about 140 miles west of Sioux Falls, S.D., to Idaho Falls Regional Airport when the crash happened, just before noon local time outside Chamberlain, according to local officials and the Federal Aviation Administration.

The plane crashed in a cornfield on private property, Ms. Benton said. The owner of the property, who was on his snowmobile, found the wreckage. Emergency responders arrived within an hour, and the victims’ bodies were removed on Saturday, she said.

The family had been hunting at Thunderstik Lodge, about seven miles west of the airport, and were on their way home, Ms. Benton said.

Kirk Hansen’s son Josh survived the crash, as did Matt Hansen and Thomas Long, Jim Hansen’s son and son-in-law, but they were seriously injured and transported to hospitals in Sioux Falls, S.D., about two hours east.

The conditions of the survivors were not immediately available.

ImageA Pilatus PC-12 single-engine aircraft, the type of plane that crashed during wintry conditions in South Dakota on Saturday.
Credit…Felix Kaestle/DPA, via Agence France-Presse — Getty Images

The Hansens were the type of people who kept their good deeds and generosity out of the spotlight, Darin Skidmore, a friend who has known the family for decades, said on Sunday.

“The city of Idaho Falls is a better place because of them,” Mr. Skidmore said in a Facebook post. “Literally countless families and individuals have been blessed through employment in their companies, their ecclesiastical leadership, and their genuine care and concern for others.”

Investigators had not made it to the site of the crash as of Sunday afternoon because of poor road conditions, said Peter Knudson, a spokesman for the National Transportation Safety Board. They will be looking at weather conditions, the pilot and the aircraft, he said.

The National Weather Service in Rapid City, S.D., had warned of white-out conditions for a significant swath of the state on Saturday, which officials said hampered the emergency response to the crash.

“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,” Theresa Maule Rossow, the Brule County state’s attorney, said in a statement.

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