September 18, 2014

Four businessmen die in airplane crash near North Platte (AUDIO)

A plane crash near the North Platte Airport took the lives of four men Friday afternoon.

Weather might well have played a factor in the crash of the multi-engine BE-58, which is under investigation by the National Transportation and Safety Board and the Federal Aviation Administration. Authorities say visibility extended for only about three miles as freezing drizzle fell just before 4 o’clock Friday afternoon.

The four were flying from North Platte to York on a business trip.

The Nebraska State Patrol lists those killed in the crash as 54-year-old Mark Bottorff of Lancaster, KS, president of Bottorff Construction in Atchison, KS; and passengers 71-year-old Ken Babcock of Hiawatha, KS, president of Ken Babcock Sales in Hiawatha; 39-year-old Jason Drane of St. Joseph, MO, operations manager at Babcock Sales; and 53-year-old Chris Nelsen of York, a salesman for Scott-Hourigan Company in York.

All four men engaged in agri-business in the region, primarily irrigation and construction projects.

The FAA reports Bottorff had 2,600 hours of flying experience. The BE-58 is built by Raytheon Corporation. It is registered to Bottorff Construction.

The Lincoln County Sheriff’s Office says the plane crashed about 13 miles northeast of Maxwell, east of North Platte along I-80.

George Keltz, KXNP, contributed to this report.

AUDIO: George Keltz reports [:40]