Black Hills Catholic community mourns loss of Father Peter Kovarik after plane crash

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The Catholic community in the Black Hills is mourning the loss of one of their own this evening, as news of the death of a well-known parish leader spreads across South Dakota.

Members of the St. Ambrose Parish in Deadwood and the St. Patrick Parish in Lead were informed today that Father Peter Kovarik died after his plane crashed near the Montana town of Alzada.

According to the Civil Air Patrol, Father Kovarik's plane departed the Spearfish Airport Friday afternoon. The CAP was notified of the missing aircraft Saturday evening.

Sunday morning, the Civil Air Patrol began aerial searches around the Spearfish area and the tri-corner borders of South Dakota, Wyoming and Montana. The aircraft's emergency beacon was picked up and they were able to locate the crash site around 11:30 Sunday morning.

According to a Federal Aviation Administration spokesman with information on the incident, the cause of the crash is still unknown, but the FAA and the National Transportation Safety Board are both investigating the crash.