Tuesday, June 7, 2016

Denney Kitfox IV, N921RP: Fatal accident occurred June 07, 2016 in De Smet, Kingsbury County, South Dakota

RANDY R. TELKAMP: http://registry.faa.gov/N921RP

FAA Flight Standards District Office:  FAA Rapid City FSDO-27

NTSB Identification: CEN16FA209
14 CFR Part 91: General Aviation
Accident occurred Tuesday, June 07, 2016 in De Smet, SD
Aircraft: PRUSS RICHARD S KITFOX IV, registration: N921RP
Injuries: 1 Fatal, 1 Serious.

This is preliminary information, subject to change, and may contain errors. Any errors in this report will be corrected when the final report has been completed. NTSB investigators either traveled in support of this investigation or conducted a significant amount of investigative work without any travel, and used data obtained from various sources to prepare this aircraft accident report.

On June 7, 2016, at 1000 central daylight time, a Pruss Kitfox IV single-engine airplane, N921RP, impacted a lake following a loss of control while maneuvering at a low altitude near De Smet, South Dakota. The private pilot sustained fatal injuries, the passenger sustained serious injuries, and the airplane sustained substantial damage. The airplane was registered to and operated by a private individual as a 14 Code of Federal Regulations Part 91 personal flight. Visual meteorological conditions prevailed at the time of the accident, and a flight plan was not filed. The local flight departed a private airstrip about 0930.

According to the passenger, who was interviewed by the Federal Aviation Administration inspector, the pilot picked up the passenger at a private airstrip to assist in a search for a boat that sank in Lake Thompson on June 3rd. The pilot and passenger spotted the boat and then flew a right turn "racetrack" pattern about 150 feet above ground level. While maneuvering, the airplane was banked about 45 to 60 degrees at an airspeed about 50 miles per hour. During a turn, the airplane "snapped over" and the pilot stated the airplane stalled. The airplane spun about 1.5 to 2 rotations, impacted the lake, and sank. The passenger stated the engine operated normally until the impact with the water. 

According to local authorities, the passenger was rescued by persons assisting in the boat recovery. Efforts to rescue the pilot were unsuccessful.

The airplane was recovered from the lake and examined at a facility near Lake Thompson. Examination of the airplane showed the fuselage was buckled near the aft cabin bulkhead. The forward fuselage was crushed up and aft. The left wing displayed compression bending aft near the wing root, and the forward wing attachment was fractured. 

At 0956, the Brookings Regional Airport (BKX), Brookings, South Dakota, automated weather observing system, located approximately 30 miles east of the accident site, reported the wind calm, sky clear, temperature 17 degrees Celsius, dew point 7 degrees Celsius, and an altimeter setting of 30.04 inches of mercury.

Lake Thompson, S.D. - A pilot died Tuesday after crash landing into Lake Thompson.

The passenger on board survived and is being treated at the De Smet hospital.

Crews investigated the crash all day Tuesday, but in order to know exactly what made the plane go down they had to dredge it from the lake, a process that took several hours.

Volunteers from area came out to help Kingsbury sheriff’s deputies pull the lane from the water.

A boat spent several hours slowly towing it to shore so the craft wasn’t damaged any further.

Once it was at the shoreline, crews worked to carefully move it out of the water.

The plane’s passenger survived the crash.

He told the sheriff the engine stalled before the crash, but crews want to know why.

“There’s a lot of factors you could look into but of course trying to decide what caused the crash or what caused the engine failure,” Sheriff Kevin Scotting said.

The passenger was rescued by a boater and taken to the De Smet hospital.

Sheriff Kevin Scotting says he is in good condition.

“I guess he’s in fair condition, walking and talking he’s a lucky man,” Scotting explained.

Because it isn’t often a person survives something like this.

“With a plane crash your chances of walking away are, I don’t think are really very good, especially with a small plane. They don’t have to hit the ground very hard to do a lot of damage,” Scotting said.

The Kingsbury Sheriff has not released the names of either the pilot or the passenger.

The Codington County Search and Rescue was called into assist and was able to locate the pilot’s body Tuesday.

The crash victim was removed from the aircraft before the plane was moved to shore.

The FAA is working with the Kingsbury Sheriff's Office to investigate the cause of the crash.

Story and video:  http://www.ksfy.com

DE SMET — A pilot is dead and a passenger survived after a plane crashed Tuesday into Lake Thompson near De Smet, authorities said.

The Kingsbury County Sheriff’s Office responded to the crash of “a small plane” at about 10:30 a.m. Tuesday. Two men were in the plane, but the cause of the plane’s crash is not immediately available.

Officials with the Kingsbury County Sheriff’s Office said the pilot died on scene and his body was recovered by Codington County Search and Rescue. The passenger, Bruce Bortnem, of Aurora, was rescued by a boat that was on the lake. Bortnem was taken to an Avera hospital in De Smet.

Hospital employees listed Bortnem’s as in “fair condition,” which means vital signs are stable and within normal limits, and the patient is conscious, but may be uncomfortable.

Authorities will be at the lake Tuesday afternoon and evening to pull out the plane’s wreckage. Officials declined to provide the name of the pilot pending notification of their families.

Lake Thompson is about 10 miles southeast of De Smet and about 40 miles west of Brookings.

As of 3:30 p.m., the small plane was still at the bottom of the lake, but Bunker Auto brought equipment to the scene to recover the crashed vessel.

Other boat ramps remained open and boaters continued using the lake, but Kingsbury County Sheriff Kevin Scotting said the west-side boat ramp would likely remain closed for the rest of the day.

Other departments that responded included the Kingsbury County Emergency Management Office, Lake Preston Fire Department, Lake Preston Ambulance, De Smet Fire Department, De Smet Ambulance, South Dakota Game, Fish and Parks.

Story and photo gallery: http://www.mitchellrepublic.com

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