Plane Crash in Butte, Montana Kills 17

Federal Aviation Administration spokesman says 17 people have died in a plane crash in Butte, Mont.

FAA Spokesman Mike Fergus says preliminary reports indicate the dead include numerous children.

"We think that it was probably a ski trip for the kids," Fergus said.

The plane was traveling from Oroville, Calif. before it crashed into Holy Cross cemetery, officials said.

Fergus says the plane departed from Orville, Calif. and that the pilot had filed a flight plan showing a final destination of Bozeman. The pilot had canceled his flight plan at some point and headed for Butte.

The plane crashed about 500 feet from the airport while attempting to land and caught fire.

Pat Ryan, a reporter with the Montana Standard, told FOX News that the area is now cordoned off. Witnesses told Ryan that they saw the plane approaching from the west, fly in sideways and crash straight down into the Holy Cross cemetery.

There were no known fatalities on the ground.

An eyewitness to the crash told The Montana Standard the plane was doing steep angle turns and then went into a nose dive.

"All of a sudden the pilot lost control and went into a nose dive," said Kenny Gulick. "He couldn't pull out in time and crashed into the trees of the cemetery."

Fergus said the plane, a Pilatus PC-12 aircraft, was manufactured in 2001. He said the National Transportation Safety Board has an investigator located in Butte who was thought to be on scene. The FAA's flight standards investigator was en route.

There will be a press conference at the airport.


By: wet501 (8074.12)

Tags: plane, crash, ski, accident, tragedy,

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