The wreckage of Piper Lance aircraft returning from Hereford, Texas, was discovered Monday after crashing into a wind turbine in South Dakota, reports The Associated Press. The lives of the pilot and all three passengers were claimed in the accident, which is currently under investigation.
The single-engine plane registered to a Donald J. Fischer crashed into one of 27 wind turbines at the South Dakota Wind Energy Center during a return trip from a Texas cattle sale. There is speculation that strong winds and reduced visibility due to fog may have played a role in the crash, but an official cause has not been given.
Wednesday the AP reported fragments from the wreckage would be transported to Colorado for further examination, with a primary question for investigators being to why the pilot was flying so low. A representative from the National Transportation Safety Board told the AP the pilot was not in communication with air traffic controllers when the plane crashed. It is also unclear if the pilot had filed a flight plan.
The 40.5 megawatt South Dakota Wind Energy Center is owned by NextEra Energy and began operations in 2003. Located in Hyde County, South Dakota the wind farm is comprised of 27 GE 1.5 MW turbines each approximately 213 feet tall.