The crash occurred at about 12:30 p.m. CST shortly after departure from
Chamberlain Municipal Airport. Nine of the 12 occupants of the airplane
suffered fatal injuries in the crash. The three survivors were injured.
The pilot and passengers arrived in Chamberlain on Friday, Nov. 29 at
about 9:30 a.m. CST for an annual pheasant hunting trip. Shortly after
arrival, the pilot purchased 150 gallons of Jet A fuel from an automated fuel
pump. The airplane remained parked on the airport ramp until the accident flight
on Nov. 30.
(In this photo, taken Monday in Chamberlain, South Dakota, an NTSB air safety investigator begins the initial examination of the wreckage of the Pilatus PC-12 that crashed on Nov. 30, 2019, at 12:30 p.m. CT shortly after departure from Chamberlain Municipal Airport. NTSB Photo.)
The pilot filed an instrument flight rules plan with the Federal
Aviation Administration and received a clearance to fly direct from
Chamberlain, a non-towered airport, to Idaho Falls, Idaho, with a planned departure
time of 12:20 p.m. CST. The plane departed Chamberlain at 12:26 p.m. CST.
When the pilot did not activate the flight plan after departure, the FAA
issued an alert for a missing airplane.
At 12:35 p.m. CST, an AWOS-3 automated weather observation station at
the Chamberlain airport recorded weather as follows: winds from 020 degrees
(north/northeast) at 6 knots (7 mph), ½ mile visibility with moderate snow and
icing, low-level windshear, and clear air turbulence conditions with overcast
skies. The base of the cloud layer was recorded at 500 feet above the
The airplane departed on runway 31 and crashed in a field about 1 mile
north of the airport. The Pilatus PC-12 airplane is not required to be
equipped with a cockpit voice recorder or a flight data recorder.
Investigators will be looking for any avionics or engine monitoring
equipment with non-volatile memory that could yield information relevant to the
The airplane was equipped with an automated dependent surveillance
broadcast system (ADS-B), which records parameters that will help investigators
determine the performance of the airplane by evaluating the flight track,
altitude and speed from takeoff to the end of the flight.
Three NTSB investigators arrived at the accident site Monday afternoon
after being delayed by inclement weather. Over the coming days they will work
on documenting the airplane and wreckage pattern, examining its systems, flight
controls, and engine. In addition, any witnesses to the crash will be
interviewed. Interviews with the surviving passengers will also be requested.
Investigators are expected to complete their work in Chamberlain by the
weekend. A preliminary report, detailing the factual information
developed at this early stage of the investigation, will be published in about
two weeks. The entire investigation, which will result in a determination
of probable cause and will list any contributing factors, is expected to be
completed in 12-24 months.