FAA: 4 dead in Sioux Falls small plane crashSIOUX FALLS, S.D. (AP) — Four people were killed in a plane crash Friday near the Sioux Falls Regional Airport, Federal Aviation Administration spokesman Tony Molinaro said.
SIOUX FALLS, S.D. (AP) — Four people were killed in a plane crash Friday near the Sioux Falls Regional Airport, Federal Aviation Administration spokesman Tony Molinaro said.
Molinaro told The Associated Press that the downed plane was a Cessna 421-C. The small, two-engine plane departed Joe Foss Field at 2:24 p.m. and was headed to Rapid City. It crashed soon after takeoff, about a mile west of the field, Molinari said.
All four people aboard were killed. Sioux Falls Police Chief Jim Sideras declined to identify the three passengers and pilot pending family notification.
“Right now, it's a shell of a plane. It's essentially just a charred area right now,” Sideras told reporters gathered in a parking lot overlooking the crash site. “That amount of fire is not survivable.”
John Dahlin, 28, of Sioux Falls, said he thought the plane was performing a stunt before he realized it was out of control.
“It was a spinning, straight-nosed dive into the ground,” he said.
A split-second later, the plane burst into flames, he said. Dahlin drove closer to the site to try to help. He could see a body through the cockpit window, he said, but couldn't make out the age or sex of the person inside because there was too much blood.
Jack Sundet, 54, a retired Sioux Falls firefighter who used to work at the airport's crash center, said he saw smoke billowing from a field near the airport as he drove home from the grocery store and pulled over. He grew increasingly concerned as the smoke went from gray to black, he said.
“I knew from my training, that's a major fire,” he said.
Sundet said he pulled out a pair of binoculars and spotted the tail of a plane. The wreckage was compact on the ground, meaning there was no debris for emergency responders to sift through — and likely no survivors.
“It's like the plane went from nose to tail right into the ground,” he said. “The tail was the only thing that was still intact. Everything else was engulfed in flames.”
Sioux Falls Mayor Mike Huether said ambulances responded quickly but there was “no chance for survival.”
Sideras said it isn't yet clear whether the plane radioed for help, but it had circled back toward the airport within 15 minutes of takeoff.
Molinaro said the FAA was would investigate and forward its findings to the National Transportation Safety Board, as is standard with fatal plane crashes.