A small private airplane that appeared to have a normal takeoff after stopping for fuel in Sioux Falls, South Dakota, June 7, started to roll to the right for unknown reasons, sending it plummeting to the ground and killing the pilot, the National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) said in a preliminary report.

The twin-engine turboprop Mitsubishi MU-28 had taken off from Snohomish County Airport in Everett, Washington, on June 6 around 9:15 p.m. It was bound for Kokomo Municipal Airport in Kokomo, Indiana, with a planned fuel stop at Huron Regional Airport in eastern South Dakota but diverted to Sioux Falls Regional Airport/Joe Foss Field because of thunderstorms.

The plane landed in Sioux Falls around 1:40 a.m. with a planned departure at 4 a.m. The pilot, whose identity has not been released, requested that the on-call line service technician fill the tip tanks on the airplane wings with fuel.

The NTSB said that preliminary radar data indicated the plane departed Sioux Falls at 4:26 a.m. Video recordings captured by various facilities showed the plane appeared to take off normally with a high-pitch angle established for the initial climb.

During the climb, the right wing began to dip. The wing continued to drop, forcing the plane to roll over to the right side. The airplane continued to roll until it was in a nose-down position. It collided with the ground, crashing on an infield area of the airport between a runway and a taxiway.

The pilot was an employee of McNeely Charter Services Inc., an air cargo company based in West Memphis, Arkansas.

The aircraft was destroyed but there was no explosion or fire and the plane’s parts, including both engines, were recovered. The NTSB continues to investigate the crash along the with Federal Aviation Administration (FAA).

On June 27, another small plane crashed, killing the pilot, near Parkston, South Dakota, about 75 miles west of Sioux Falls. The NTSB is also investigating that crash.

Airplane crash litigation

Beasley Allen lawyer Mike Andrews focuses much of his practice on aviation litigation and has represented people seriously injured in a variety of aviation crashes, and the families of those killed in both civilian and military airplane crashes and helicopter crashes. He handles cases similar to the one described above. Mike also currently represents families of Ethiopian Airlines flight 302 victims involving the Boeing 737 MAX aircraft.

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