Pilatus Aircraft has joined the US National Transportation Safety Board-led investigation into the cause of a crash on 22 March of a PC-12 in Butte, Montana.

The single-engined turboprop - registration N128CM - nose-dived into a cemetery 150m (500ft) short of Butte airport at 15.27 local time, killing all 14 people aboard - seven adults and seven children. The aircraft was believed to have been chartered for a skiing trip to Montana and did not contain a flight recorder.

An NTSB official says: "We think that it was probably a ski trip for the kids. We are just beginning our investigation and we don't have a lot of information."

According to the Federal Aviation Administration, the aircraft had departed from Oroville, California and the pilot had filed a flightplan showing a destination of Bozeman, about 135km (85 miles) south-east of Butte. However, the pilot cancelled his flightplan at some point and headed for Butte.

Montana PC-12 crash
 © AP

Source: Flight International