“Ice Road Truckers” star Darrell Ward was one of two people killed in Sunday’s plane crash near the Rock Creek exit on Interstate 90.
The Missoula County Sheriff’s Office identified the victims as Ward, 52, from Deer Lodge, and the pilot, Mark Melotz, 56, of Arlee.
“It is with great sadness to report we have lost our Montana Legend at the young age of 52,” said a release posted Monday morning on Ward’s Facebook page.
“Darrell Ward had just left The Great American Truck Show in Dallas, Texas where he enjoyed meeting numerous fans and friends and was heading to Missoula to begin filming a pilot for his new documentary style show involving the recovery of plane wrecks when he and his co-pilot crashed and lost their lives,” it said.
The Cessna 182-D crashed on the edge of interstate as it appeared to be attempting to land at the Rock Creek Airport south of Clinton.
Missoula County Sheriff’s Department Patrol Captain Bill Burt said witnesses said the plane appeared to be attempting to land at the south end of the runway.
“Something went drastically wrong,’’ he said. “The plane was trying to climb and appeared to have stalled.’’
The National Transportation Safety Board will investigate the incident.
The news release on Ward’s Facebook page said he’d just gotten the news that “Ice Road Truckers” would continue for an 11th season, to begin filming in the winter of 2017.
“When Darrell wasn’t hitting the Ice Roads he would be back in Montana doing what Darrel loved best as a log hauler and occasionally helped local authorities fight forest fires,” it said.