Federal investigators say a pilot and three passengers who took off from Sioux Falls on December 9th apparently tried to return to the airport before their plane crashed, killing all four of them. A preliminary report from the National Transportation Safety Board says the pilot turned around after an air traffic controller noticed a plume of smoke coming from the plane about 30 seconds after takeoff. The controller then advised the pilot that the smoke had stopped and cleared the plane to land.
No communications were received from the pilot after he acknowledged the takeoff clearance. The report makes no recommendations or conclusions.