By Katrina Hapner Contributing Writer for Telegraph Local
Shortly after takeoff midday Saturday, a plane bound for Idaho Falls carrying 12 people crashed into a corn field in rural Brule County in South Dakota. What started as a family hunting party, ended in nine tragic deaths including two children. Three male survivors ages 17, 27 and 28 were rushed to trauma centers in Sioux Falls with unknown injuries.
Investigation is underway to determine the cause of the accident that occurred during a Winter Storm Warning with heavy snow and 45 mph wind gusts. Questions remain as to why a small single propeller aircraft like the Pilatus PC-12 plane was allowed to leave the runway during extremely poor weather conditions. All across South Dakota, residents were advised not to travel during the storm. On the Brule County Sheriff’s Office’s Facebook page, Theresa Rossow commended rescue efforts by “the men and women of law enforcement, first responders and medical professionals” in such extremes of weather.
Brother’s Jim and Kirk Hansen, founders of the wellness company Kyani, were among the deceased. Travis Garza, the President of Kyani made a Facebook statement on Sunday that James Hansen, the brother’s father also did not survive the accident. He went on to state that the deceased included two of Kirk’s sons, Logan and Stockton, son-in-laws Kyle Taylor and Tyson Dennert, Jim’s son Jake and grandson Houston. The three survivors were later identified as Josh Hansen (Kirk’s son), Matt Hansen (Jim’s son), and Thomas Long (Jim’s son-in-law).
Mr. Garza also said, “Although these developments are very sad for the Kyäni family, the family was smart enough to build a solid team that can move this company now and in the future. Kirk and Jim’s legacy will continue to be protected by everyone who is related to Kyäni, and by making a better life possible through their mission and vision.”
According to Kyäni’s website Jim and Kirk Hansen, together with their wives, founded the company that sells skin care and nutritional supplements. The website also states that the brother’s held executive positions with Conrad & Bischoff and KJ’s Super Stores. One friend of the family, Kevin Call stated that the Hansen’s were also very active in the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints and “they weren’t showy but quiet, heavy contributors” according to the East Idaho News.
The brother’s were described as “pillars in the community” by Brian Wood of Wood’s Funeral Home. In his Facebook post, he went on to say, “Oftentimes people that lose a loved one are not financially prepared to pay for the many things surrounding their final expenses. Many, many times through the years I received a text message from Jim or Kirk asking if there was anyone having a hard time paying their bill. When there was, they’d give me their credit card number without a second thought and pay the bill for them.”
Wood went on to state, “Our community has a dark cloud over it now. They will never know the many lives they touched.”