BRIDGEWATER - One person is dead following a small plane crash in McCook County Sunday afternoon.

McCook County Emergency Management Director Brad Stiefvater confirmed one person was dead following a plane crash in the area of 263rd Street and 440th Avenue in the southern part of the county, located 1 mile west of U.S. Highway 81.

The identify of the pilot has not been released, pending family notification. Stiefvater said the plane was a single-engine aircraft and said the pilot called into air traffic control about having health issues and trouble controlling the plane.

The plane’s initial position at that time was close to where it ultimately crashed, Stiefvater said. He said McCook County authorities tried to get in contact with the plane’s pilot but were unsuccessful. About 10 minutes after being initially contacted, air traffic controllers said the plane had gone down and local authorities found the wreckage a short time later.

The area of the plane crash is located 6 1/2 miles east of Bridgewater, 8 miles west of Canistota, and 12 miles south of Salem. The National Transportation Safety Board has been contacted and will investigate the crash.

Stiefvater said he didn’t know of any eyewitnesses to the crash and he wasn’t sure on the plane’s origin or planned destination. The plane was at the Mitchell Regional Airport earlier in the afternoon, prior to the plane going down.

Mitchell Airport Manager Mike Scherschligt said the pilot and plane was at the Mitchell airport but nothing seemed to be out of the ordinary about the time it was there.

Responding agencies to the crash included the McCook County Sheriff’s Office and Emergency Management divisions and McCook County Ambulance.

The plane crash is the second fatal aircraft incident in the southeastern part of the state in a month’s time. Two people were killed on Dec. 25 when an aircraft crashed in a southeast Sioux Falls neighborhood.

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