BUTTE, Mont., March 23 (UPI) -- A plane that crashed near the Butte, Mont., airport carried too many people and was missing key recorders, federal investigators said Monday.
The Pilatus PC-12, a single-engine turbo prop, was flying from Redlands, Calif., Sunday to Bozeman, Mont, when it crashed just short of the Butte airport, killing 14 people, seven of them children. The flight was diverted to the Butte airport for an unknown reason, ABC News reported.
Mark Rosenker, acting chairman of the National Transportation Safety Board, said during a briefing Monday a quick answer was unlikely about why the crash occurred.
NTSB personnel said they didn't know the reason for the flight, although initial media reports indicated it was a ski trip.
The pilot didn't make a radio call and Butte's airport doesn't have radar control, which when combined with the lack of a black box and survivors, could make the investigation difficult, officials said.
The Pilatus PC-12 was certified to carry 12 people, but federal investigators say there were 14 people on the flight, which had seating for 11. Rosenker said the NTSB will have to determine why extra people were on the plane.
John Nance, ABC's aviation expert, said the number of passengers was one of the biggest questions facing investigators.
"You can't just stuff as many folks on an airplane as you can physically put them in there," Nance said.