Piper Lance Crashes into South Dakota Wind Turbine

Pilot and three passengers killed.

Wind Tower Plane Crash KELOLAND

Wind Tower Plane Crash KELOLAND

** Photo: KELOLAND News**

A Piper Lance flying in foggy weather in central South Dakota yesterday crashed into the blade of a wind turbine, killing the pilot and three passengers.

The FAA has confirmed that the 1978 Piper PA-32R-300 struck a blade of the wind tower outside Highmore, South Dakota, in poor weather, but offered no explanation as to why the airplane was so low when it was still several miles from the nearest airport.

The pilot and registered owner of the airplane, Donald Fischer, 30, of Gettysburg, South Dakota, held both an instrument rating and commercial pilot certificate, according to FAA records. There was no indication that the single-engine Piper was flying on an IFR flight plan on its journey from Hereford, Texas, to Gettysburg when the crash occurred, however.

Photos of the crash scene show one of three blades missing on a wind turbine owned by the South Dakota Wind Energy Center. The weather in the area was reported as a temperature of 38 degrees with 4 miles visibility in rain, snow and fog.

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