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Three killed in plane crash near Chadron

Three killed in plane crash near Chadron


Authorities are investigating a plane crash near Chadron in which three people were killed Sunday.

The pilot, as well as two passengers on board, were killed in the crash that occurred at about 7:30 p.m. near the Chadron Municipal Airport, Dawes County Attorney Vance Haug said in a press release.

The identity of those killed in the crash was not yet available. Additional details are pending further investigation and family notifications, Haug said. The Star-Herald has learned that the pilot and passengers are from the Scottsbluff-Gering area, but officials have not officially released the identities of the pilot or the passengers as of publication.

Authorities responded to the crash scene after Chadron dispatch received reports from witnesses reporting a “fireball” or “explosion” seen outside of town, Haug said. The Chadron airport is located five miles west of Chadron.

The Chadron Volunteer Fire Department, Dawes County Sheriff’s Office and Search and Rescue personnel responded to a rural area near the Chadron Municipal Airport to address reports of a grass fire. Responders found a small aircraft, which had gone down and caused a grass fire.

Haug, acting as coroner, responded. He said the FAA (Federal Aviation Administration) had also been contacted.

The NTSB confirmed it is investigating the crash. Agency spokesman Peter Knudson said the plane took off from Chadron Municipal Airport and crashed about a mile and a half away, according to the Associated Press.

According to information from the FAA registry, the plane, a 1978 Cessna T31OR, was a fixed wing, multi-engine plane with six seats and two engines. A sale listing for the plane that remained online showed the plane had an annual inspection in March 2020, a few months prior to being purchased by a Scottsbluff man and his wife, who was not a passenger in the crash, in August 2020.

Prior to the crash, the pilot had flown from a Minneapolis airport to Chadron, arriving at 6:43 p.m., according to flight manifest information on Earlier Sunday morning, the pilot flew from Chadron to Minneapolis. The pilot had also made flights on Saturday between Fort Collins/Loveland and Scottsbluff. His destination at the time of the crash has not been confirmed.

The Gering Public Schools activated the district’s crisis response teams at Gering High School and Lincoln Elementary Monday morning, Jennifer Sibal, community engagement director, told the Star-Herald. The Scottsbluff School District is also providing its crisis team throughout the district, Melissa Price, director of communications, said.

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