Plane crashes in Montana, 17 killed

Monday, March 23, 2009

A Pilatus PC-12 similar to the one that crashed in Butte, Montana

According to the United States Federal Aviation Administration (FAA), a single-engine passenger aeroplane has crashed in Butte, Montana, killing seventeen people.

The plane, a turboprop Pilatus PC-12, had departed from Oroville, California. Authorities said that the pilot had filed a flight plan to Bozeman, Montana, but cancelled it and diverted to Butte instead. The pilot attempted to land, but crashed into a cemetery about 150 metres (500 feet) from the aeroport, bursting into flames. Nobody on the ground died. The weather was reported to have been cloudy at the time.

Pat Ryan, a reporter for the Montana Standard newspaper, said that the authorities had sealed off the scene of the accident. "I did speak to one eyewitness who said he saw the plane approaching from the west and nosedive into the Holy Cross cemetery just short of the Burbon Lee airport here in Butte," he said. "I was on the scene speaking to eyewitnesses who basically described the plane coming in trying to make it to the runway and obviously not getting there."

A spokesman for the FAA said that the preliminary death toll was 17, and that several of the victims were children. "We think that it was probably a ski trip for the kids," he said.


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