Hansens killed in plane crash

Hidden Hollow owners Kirk Hansen, left, and Jim Hansen Jr. at the groundbreaking for the housing development in December 2017. The brothers were killed Nov. 30 near Chamberlain, S.D., in a plane crash with six other family members.

The deaths of Hidden Hollow developers Kirk and Jim Hansen won’t derail construction of their housing project in Jackson, their family said Monday.

Work on the 168-unit project on the north side of Jackson “will continue moving forward to preserve the vision and legacy of the Hansen family,” said Zane Powell, the owners’ rep and Jackson construction manager for the family.

The Hansen brothers were among nine family members who died Saturday afternoon when their plane crashed soon after taking off from the airport in Chamberlain, South Dakota. Also killed were their father, Jim Hansen Sr.; Kirk Hansen’s children, Stockton and Logan; his sons-in-law, Kyle Naylor and Tyson Dennert; and Jim Hansen’s son, Jake, and grandson, Houston.

Kirk Hansen’s son, Josh, and Jim Hansen’s son, Matt, and son-in-law, Thomas Long, survived and were in stable condition Monday.

The fatal crash came in the middle of construction at Hidden Hollow. Some apartments, including units designed and priced as employee housing, have been completed and work continues. The project also includes open market apartments on 10 acres bordering the National Elk Refuge.

“Although these developments are incredibly sad for the Hidden Hollow family,” Powell wrote, “the completion and operation of Hidden Hollow will continue and flourish through the construction and management teams the Hansen family previously established from their vision for the future of this special project in Jackson Hole.”

The 12 people on the flight were returning from an annual pheasant hunting trip. The plane took off during a snowstorm. National Transportation Safety Board investigators weren’t due at the scene until Monday morning.

Kirk Hansen had a private pilot certificate, but investigators weren’t certain if he was piloting the Swiss Pilatus PC-12, according to The Associated Press.

The Hansens are well known in eastern Idaho, where they operated an oil and gas distributorship, Conrad & Bischoff Inc., which has an office in Jackson on Highway 22 just west of the “Y” intersection. Kirk and Jim Hansen also founded Kyani, a nutrition and wellness products company, and ran a string of gas station-convenience stores called KJ’s Super Stores.

Family representative Jeff Walbom said the crash was a “total tragedy” for the family, which he called “pillars of the community.” Kirk and Jim Hansen were members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, and their firm Kyani had a charitable arm that built schools in foreign countries.

All of the family businesses are in the hands of managers recruited by the Hansen brothers, said Travis Garza, president of Kyani.

“The family was smart enough to build a solid team that can move this company now and in the future,” Garza wrote. “Kirk and Jim’s legacy will continue to be protected by everyone who is related to Kyani, and by making a better life possible through their mission and vision.”

In a statement, the Hansen family asked that people who want to memorialize the loss donate to Kyani’s Caring Hands Program.

Contact Mark Huffman at 732-5907 or mark@jhnewsandguide.com.

Mark Huffman edits copy and occasionally writes some, too. He's been a journalist since newspapers had typewriters and darkrooms.

(1) comment

Tim Rieser

This is a disturbing tragedy. So close to home, all one family. It’s a strong reminder to us all, I’m sure....

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