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South Dakota Man Dies In Plane Crash Over Montana

A South Dakota man suffered fatal injuries when his single-engine Cessna crashed near Alzada, Montana over the weekend.

The plane is registered to Peter Kovarik of the Black Hills.

Officials say Kovarik reportedly did not return to the Spearfish airport Saturday night as expected.

South Dakota Wing Civil Air Patrol Public Affairs Officer Major Bruce Kipp says poor weather conditions hampered search efforts until early Sunday morning when both air and ground searches took place.

Kipp says the wreckage was located in a high, snowy, area.

“The emergency beacon was picked up, but in addition to that, the cell phone forensics provided a second hit for a cell phone tower and when they extrapolated the data they found that the aircraft crash site was almost exactly on the line that they had extrapolated – so it was a combination of the two factors. The cell phone forensics indicating a good area to search, and then once the aircraft were up, using their sensors, they were able to pick up the emergency beacon, which is what drew them all to the proper area,” says Kipp.

Kipp says Kovarik was a Catholic Priest in the Lead/Deadwood area. He is believed to have been the only person on board the aircraft. The investigation is continuing.