Plane carrying Steamboat men involved in fatal crash in South Dakota

A single engine plane carrying two Steamboat Springs residents was involved in a fatal plane crash near Pierre, South Dakota on Monday, Oct. 23, 2023.
Hughes County Sheriff’s Office

Federal investigators are working to determine the cause of a fatal plane crash Monday in Pierre, South Dakota that involved two men from Steamboat Springs.

According to the Hughes County Sheriff’s Office, the single-engine Piper Malibu Mirage was headed to Steamboat Springs Airport after departing Pierre Regional Airport around 3 p.m. Monday.

The pilot, 59-year-old Steamboat resident Dr. Eric Meyer, reported an engine failure to air traffic controllers roughly 10 minutes after takeoff and stated an intention to return to the airport.

At approximately 3:15 p.m., Meyer dialed 911 to report the aircraft crashed in an area northwest of Pierre.

A passenger in the aircraft, Hugh Alexander, 76, of Steamboat Springs, died in the crash, according to the sheriff’s office.

Emergency personnel located the aircraft roughly one mile north of Pierre and a half-mile west of South Dakota Highway 1804, and transported Meyer and Alexander to Avera St. Mary’s Hospital.

Dr. Meyer was briefly hospitalized before being released, the sheriff’s office said Tuesday.

Federal Aviation Administration Investigators arrived at the crash site — which is on private property — early Tuesday afternoon, according to the sheriff’s office.

Investigators with the U.S. National Transportation Safety Board are working to investigate the cause of the crash.

A plane crashed northwest of Pierre, South Dakota shortly after 3 p.m. Monday, Oct. 23, 2023. The plane carrying Steamboat residents Dr. Eric Meyer and Hugh Alexander reportedly lost engine power. Alexander, 76, died in the crash.
Zach Nelson / KCCR Radio, Pierre SD

The flight tracking website FlightAware shows the plane departed Steamboat Springs Airport for Pierre on Saturday afternoon. The scheduled return flight Monday lasted 16 minutes, according to the data.

The plane is registered to Icarus Management LLC, a company that is listed under Dr. Meyer’s name with a business address in Great Falls, Montana. Dr. Meyer is an anesthesiologist and accomplished mountain climber who has reached the summit of Mount Everest twice.

Alexander was a beloved member of the the community. He leaves behind his wife, Sue Alexander. A longtime friend of the couple, Troy Lewis noted Alexander’s contributions to the community including being a dedicated supporter of the Sk8 Church and the leader of a weekly Bible Study group open to members of the community from all different backgrounds and churches.

Lewis called Alexander, an attorney, “a brilliant guy who was very thoughtful person but just had fun, he had some quirks, he loved to cook and hunt and loved to ski.”

“Hugh and Sue are just huge, key people in our community that have led the charge in bringing help to hurting and broken people,” Lewis said.

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