South Dakota Game & Fish Crashed Aerial Gunning Plane

    STURGIS — Looking back on those tense moments before the crash, Tony DeCino still doesn’t know how things went so wrong so fast.

    The airplane was running fine. The wind was light. A low pass over the brown pastures of the Cheyenne River breaks put him and gunner Dan Turgeon within 50 yards of the furry targets below.

    And the 12-gauge shotgun bucked repeatedly against Turgeon’s shoulder, firing clusters of heavy steel shot that sent two coyotes tumbling into the grass.

    To that point, it was a perfect run.

     “We’d killed both coyotes. We’d already pulled up, cleared the terrain and were in a descent to go back and check on the animals,” DeCino said. “Over the course of a couple of seconds, things changed from perfectly fine to me trying to maneuver that airplane and us being in the dirt.”

    It was the first crash landing for DeCino, a seasoned 54-year-old pilot with 17 years experience as a flight instructor. He walked away with minor injuries and understandably nagging questions about its cause.


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2 responses to “South Dakota Game & Fish Crashed Aerial Gunning Plane

  1. It is amazing to me that greedy ranchers actually demand these dangerous and ineffective predator controls not only at a cost of millions of taxpayer dollars but at a cost of human lives. I guess it is all about the bottom line!

  2. Oh boy, “the 12-gauge shotgun…clusters of heavy steel shot….tumbling into the grass. A penny novel? Nope, a flight instructor and his gunner playing gunship attack and stalling his mount into the ground! Great day for our poor men´s fighter ace ….. a perfect run so far, enemy dead….cleared the terrain and already in a descent to go back….maybe it was the knife edge turn in between , necessary to reverse 180 deg, he forgot to mention. No speculation however until the official report. The hero walked away with minor injuries. The receiving party of this gun run was not so fortune. This is not aerial hunting or aerial gunning, this is AIRWAR!