One Child Dead, Five Hospitalized
ANN REALTIME UPDATE 01.16.06 1500
EST: Reports from the scene state the aircraft involved in
Saturday's accident that claimed the life of an young boy in
Pierre, SD was a Piper Cherokee, although the aircraft's
registration has not been released by investigators.
Colt Gunderson was among a group of children who were taking a
ride around the pattern at Pierre Regional Airport (PIR) onboard
the Cherokee (file photo of type, below) as part of
a birthday party when the plane went down seconds after takeoff,
impacting in a ravine at the south end of the runway. Gunderson,
11, died in the accident, while the four other children and pilot
Clint Peitz were seriously injured.
Details of the accident are still sketchy, with several factors
not yet reported. NTSB investigators were to continue their work at
the scene Monday, according to the Aberdeen American News, and a
Preliminary Report is expected shortly.
The tragedy has affected the entire city of 14,000, according to
Pierre police chief Al Aden.
"It was a tragic situation and a tragic site. A difficult site,"
said Aden to Pierre's KELO-TV. "The plane was wedged into a ravine,
it remained six to eight feet off the grounds. It took a number of
emergency personnel, EMT's firefighters, and law enforcement to
move the injured out of the plane and get them to the
"[The children] not only went to school together, but were
friends and ran around together," added the police chief.
The accident flight was the second trip of the day for the
airplane. The child whose birthday was being celebrated was on the
first flight, according to media reports.
Three of the four children injured in the accident -- 13 year
old Miranda Deyo, 11 year old Jordin Dungey, and 8 year old Teya
Gunderson -- as well pilot Peitz, were transported to a Sioux Falls
hospital due to the severity of their injuries. As of Monday, they
were still listed in critical condition.
The youngest child, 6 year old Brianna Gunderson, was released
Sunday from St. Mary's Healthcare Center in Pierre.