Fourteen Perish in Pilatus PC-12 Crash

 - March 24, 2009, 12:35 PM

Seven adults and seven children aboard a Pilatus PC-12 (N128CM) were killed when the turboprop single crashed at approximately 3 p.m. local time on Sunday while on approach to Bert Mooney Airport in Butte, Mont. The group was reportedly headed from California to Bozeman, Mont., for a skiing trip, but the pilot diverted to Butte for an unspecified reason. According to eyewitnesses, the PC-12 “nosed in” just 500 feet short of the airport, with the airplane wreckage coming to rest in an adjacent cemetery. The aircraft, registered to Eagle Cap Leasing, was substantially damaged, according to the FAA. An NTSB spokesman told AIN that N128CM was configured with only 10 seats, including the pilot and copilot stations, meaning that there were four more passengers than available seats. One child was reportedly under two years of age and could legally be carried on an adult’s lap; the other six children on board were reportedly between two and nine years old and–under the FARs–each should have had his or her own seat with a seat belt. The NTSB has not yet ruled out any causes, the spokesman said, and the investigation is ongoing.