Plane That Crashed On Flight From Texas Hit Wind Turbine

The plane that crashed was a Piper 32, like the one in this file photo. (File)

SIOUX FALLS, S.D. (April 29, 2014) A federal investigator will focus on why a small aircraft on a flight from Texas was flying so low when it crashed into a wind turbine in South Dakota, killing all four people on board.

Possible factors include trouble with the pilot or plane, and the weather.

The Piper 32 crashed Sunday evening 10 miles south of Highmore, killing the pilot, Donald J. "D.J." Fischer, and three passengers, cattlemen Brent Beitelspacher, of Bowdle, S.D., Logan Rau, of Java, S.D. and Nick Reiman, 33, of Ree Heights, S.D.

National Transportation Safety Board investigator Jennifer Rodi said it doesn't appear the pilot filed a flight plan or was communicating with air traffic controllers, so it's unclear if he refueled before leaving Hereford.

Fischer, of Gettysburg, owned the plane.

The crash was reported early Monday morning about five miles south of Highmore, S.D., which is 50 miles east of Pierre.

The wreckage was found on the site of the South Dakota Wind Energy Center south of Highmore, which has 27 turbines that are about 213 feet tall, plus the length of the blade, Steve Stengel with Florida-based NextEra Energy Resources said.