Investigation Begins into Montana Plane Crash That Killed 14

March 23, 2009

(ChattahBox) — A single-engine plane on a ski trip crashed into a cemetery in Butte, Montana, Sunday killing all 14 passengers, seven of them children. The plane which apparently nose-dived into the ground burst into flames on impact, creating a 20ft crater and causing thick smoke to rise above the headstones.

As seven investigators gathered from The National Transportation Safety Board to investigate, new details from the scene have some speculating that the aircraft was overloaded and carrying too many passengers when it crashed. The Pilatus PC-12, a high-end, single-engine turbo prop, was only certified to carry 12 people. Early reports indicated 17 people had been killed when the plane plunged into a cemetery, but the death toll was later revised to 14, officials said.

The fateful journey began from Oroville, Calif., at 11:17 a.m. on a 2½-hour flight to Bozeman, Montana But instead of its final destination, the plane diverted to Butte, about 85 miles northeast of Bozeman.

There was no radio call made by the pilot and it remains unclear whether there was an emergency situation that led the pilot to land in Butte.


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