OPAL | A Meade County man died in a plane crash near his home early Friday morning.
Officials confirmed Friday afternoon that the victim was Barry Vig, a 67-year-old Opal man. Friends said Vig, a longtime pilot, ranched about 14 miles east of Opal and had a landing strip at the ranch.
"They expected him home at a certain time, and he wasn't," said Kay Ingalls of Opal. "I got a call about 2 a.m. from the prayer chain asking for prayers."
A release from the Meade County Sheriff's Office said Vig was piloting the airplane and was the only person on board. The plane crashed on Vig's property, according to the release.
Lt. Col Bruce Kipp, director of public affairs for the South Dakota Wing of the Civil Air Patrol, confirmed that the CAP had been called out to search for the plane.
Opal is an unincorporated community in Meade County, about 96 miles northeast of Rapid City. Kipp said the plane was en route from Rapid City to Faith, about 30 miles east of Opal, when the crash happened. The landscape around Opal includes large swathes of rolling grass and farm land dotted with small ranches.
"We picked up the beacon and spotted the wreckage near Opal," he said. "We guided the Meade County Sheriff's deputies ground team to the site."
Kipp said the CAP call went out about 2 a.m. and the Meade County Sheriff's Department recovered the body about 3:50 a.m.
"The weather was clear when we found the plane, but we know a rain storm had passed through about two hours previous," he said.
The Federal Aviation Administration and Meade County Sheriff's Office are investigating.
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