The NTSB says the turboprop plane that crashed in Butte, Montana, and killed 14 (seven children and seven adults), had 13 passengers and 10 seats.
"We are going to have to try and understand how, and why, there were three additional people on board the aircraft." Mark Rosenker, the acting NTSB chairman, said at a press conference on the scene.
The plane was fractionally owned by eight people, most of them related and several on board with their children when it crashed.
Remaining questions, aside from the obvious one, what caused the accident:
--The plane made several stops to pick up passengers in California en route to Bozeman, Montana, near where the group planned a ski and golf holiday. The pilot had filed a flight plan and, presumably, there was a passenger manifest. Are there no regulations in place to ensure that there are not too many people packed into a private passenger aircraft (and this one was a top-line Pilatus PC-12 turboprop, a model that is used as regional airliners in commercial service)?
--Why did the pilot divert from Bozeman to Butte?
--Where, oh where, was/is the FAA and the air-traffic control evidence-trail? Presumably, air-traffic control was involved in some part of that aircraft's final journey. The FAA has been veeeery quiet. The highly regarded NTSB, which is frequently at odds with the not-so-highly-regarded FAA, is pressing on this, I hear.
--And this may be a dumb question (comments, advice would be appreciated), but why is there no radar or air traffic control at the Butte airport -- an airport that has commercial airline service via Delta Connection/SkyWest?
[UPDATE: Please do see the dissenting comment (below) about ATC, etc. from an anonymous reader who appears to know what he or she is talking about.]
Meanwhile, another Montana crash story, without comment out of respect for the above:
In Billings, Montana, says the AP, friends of a Sparky Imeson, a pilot killed last week in a crash in southern Montana, say he had set out to photograph the site where he had crashed two years ago.
Says the AP:
"The 64-year-old Imeson took off alone from the Bozeman airport. Two friends say he had intended to document the site of a 2007 crash in the Elkhorn Mountains that left him with a compression fracture to his back, broken ribs, a broken toe and cuts on his head." The wreckage of his Cessna 180 was found last Thursday.