First responders describe getting to deadly plane crash scene in winter storm

Local News

CHAMBERLAIN, S.D. (KELO) – Heavy snow and high winds were the conditions as first responders went to search for a downed plane in South Dakota this weekend. Nine people died and three were seriously injured.

Three National Transportation Safety Board investigators arrived at the scene Monday, which is about a mile north of the Chamberlain Municipal Airport. Weather conditions prevented investigators from getting there this weekend.

Local law enforcement is securing the scene at the entrance to the cornfield where the plane went down early Saturday afternoon. KELOLAND News spoke to Kurt Kelsey, the fire chief for the Chamberlain-Oacoma Fire Department. His crews were some of the first on the scene after law enforcement.

Kurt Kelsey is the fire chief for the Chamberlain Oacoma Fire Department. His crew and other agencies responded to the crash.

“I’ve been on the department for 27 years, this is the a first time for everybody,” Kelsey said. “We sent three trucks out there, a total of 18 guys from our department there, otherwise police and law enforcement were first on scene.”

Kelsey says the winter conditions made it difficult to get to the crash.

“Conditions right there at the time, the roads were very slippery, snowing heavily, very bad conditions when we were at the scene, so yes it was hard to get to,” Kelsey said.

Kelsey says local crews spent several hours on scene. Now federal officials are investigating.

“Our thoughts and prayers go out just go out to the families,” Kelsey said.

Three NTSB investigators are at the scene. They are expected to complete their work in South Dakota by the weekend. A preliminary report will be released in about two weeks.

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