Twin-engine plane crashes, burns near Idaho border

MISSOULA, Mont. (AP) — A twin-engine airplane crashed and caught fire in the parking lot of a western Montana ski area, killing the pilot, officials said.

Ravalli County Sheriff Chris Hoffman said the crash happened at 5:30 p.m. Tuesday just north of the ski lodge at the Lost Trial ski area near the Montana-Idaho border.

One witness said the plane appeared to be spinning in the air before it came down flat in the parking lot and was destroyed by the fire.

“It burned very badly, to the point we couldn’t identify it,” said Ravalli County Undersheriff Steve Holton. “The only thing that is recognizable is the wing tips.”

Federal Aviation Administration spokesman Allen Kenitzer said Wednesday that preliminary information indicates the plane was a Grumman G-21A with only the pilot on board.

Officials in Ravalli County did not know Tuesday night who owned the plane or where it was coming from. Holton did not immediately return a phone call to The Associated Press on Wednesday morning.

National Transportation Safety Board and FAA officials were to investigate the crash.