CHAMBERLAIN, S.D. (KELO) — The National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) has released more information on a fatal 2019 plane crash near Chamberlain, South Dakota.

On April 29, 2022, officials released more than 200 pages of investigative documents related to the deadly plane crash that killed 9 of 12 members of an Idaho family on Nov. 30, 2019. The plane was headed to Idaho Falls, Idaho.

This is not the final investigative report.

Federal investigators say that accumulation of ice on the wings and other parts of the plane was a key factor in the crash. The plane crashed shortly after takeoff from the Chamberlain Municipal Airport.

A combination of ice, weather conditions in general, too much weight and the load’s center of gravity all appear to have contributed to the crash, according to the NTSB report.

The report said the plane appeared to be squatting low and “dragging its tail” when moving. The speed at the takeoff was three knots slower than recommended, according to the report.

“It is the responsibility of the pilot in command to make sure that the aircraft does not exceed the
maximum weight limits and is loaded within the center of gravity range before takeoff,” the report said.

Despite a witness who said he asked them not to leave that day, the plane took off.

The passengers and crew prayed before takeoff and asked for God’s protection as “we take off in not so great weather…,” according to a transcript included in the NTSB report.

Less than two minutes after take off an automated voice can be heard saying “stall” several times over. Then, a voice is heard saying “Oh no,” followed by the sound of heavy and rapid breathing and apparently the words “ohh hold on,” could be heard, according to a transcript included in the NTSB report.

Video and photos included in the report show the snowy conditions at the airport during takeoff and what appears to be snow and ice build-up on the plane’s tail.

The passengers in the plane were staying at a hunting lodge in the Chamberlain area. According to documents in the investigative report, the lodge owner asked the pilot not to leave that day and to stay at the lodge.

The lodge owner and the airport manager both told the NTSB that they saw the pilot chipping ice from the plane. The ladder being used did not allow the pilot to reach the top of the tail, the lodge owner told the NTSB.

The pilot told him that the airplane was 98% good and the remaining ice would come off during takeoff, the lodge owner said in his report to the NTSB.

The image on the left was taken right before takeoff. The image on the right is of an exemplar PC-12 taken
from a similar angle. | Courtesy NTSB

A third witness said it was snowing too hard for him to see the plane but could hear it, according to NTSB documents. He also said the plane didn’t not travel over his relative’s house “like all of the others that do that takeoff in that direction,” according to the NTSB documents.

The new documents contain witness statements, photos from the crash, weather reports, flight data recorder transcripts, aircraft details and additional information about the crash.

The computed takeoff weight of 10,557 lb. is 107 lb. above the envelope’s maximum gross weight of 10,450 lb., according to the NTSB report

Based on the passenger list and take-off weight, nine passengers were in seats and two passengers were likely unseated in the aisle.