The pilot killed in a single-engine plane crash in a field Sunday afternoon in McCook County has been identified.
Comet H. Haraldson, 69, of Sioux Falls, was the pilot and lone person on the plane when it crashed Sunday near Bridgewater. Haraldson was flying a plane registered in his name, McCook County Emergency Management Director Brad Stiefvater said Monday.
Haraldson, who was an attorney with nearly 40 years of experience at Woods Fuller Shultz and Smith law firm in Sioux Falls, flew the plane from Tea to Mitchell earlier Sunday, and was flying to return home to Sioux Falls at the time of the crash.
Stiefvater said Sunday that Haraldson had contacted air traffic controllers while in flight around 2:15 p.m. to say he was having health complications and was struggling to control his plane.
About 10 minutes later, air traffic control reported they had lost contact with the plane. The wreckage was later found in the area of 263rd Street and 440th Avenue in the southern part of McCook County, located 1 mile west of U.S. Highway 81.
Because of the partial federal government shutdown, the investigation into the crash will be slow, Stiefvater said. McCook County personnel received permission from the National Transportation Safety Board to preserve the wreckage from the crash site before the NTSB can further investigate. Stiefvater said there’s no timeline on when that investigation will occur because many NTSB employees are on furlough.
“I’m not sure when that will be because of the shutdown, so things are complicated right now,” Stiefvater said Monday.