The fatal plane crash leaves behind unanswered questions such as, what exactly caused the plane to go down? Who was the pilot? Why did they fly to North Platte? Investigator, Tom Latson of the National Transportation Safety Board, explained what is known about the incident as well as the next steps in the investigation.
The aircraft occupied by the four men involved in the crash was a Beechcraft Baron G58 which looks like this.
That aircraft first departed from the Amelia Earhart airport in Atchison Kansas at around 10:05 AM. The destination was at the York Muni airport in York Nebraska, arrival was approximately at 11:06 AM. Here is the flight path shown as the green line.
At around 11:13AM the aircraft departed from the York Muni to the North Platte Regional Airport, arrival time was approximately 12:04 PM. Again, the green line shows the flight path and the colored areas is what appears to be weather. North of the North Platte Airport you can see the incoming snow which North Platte received on Friday January 11th.
At around 3:46 the aircraft departed from the North Platte Regional Airport and was scheduled to arrive at the York Muni Airport at around 4:28 PM. You can see the flight path of the aircraft, departing in snowy conditions.
A closer look…
According to the National Weather Service, the wind speeds recorded at the North Platte Regional Airport reached up to 21mph around the time of the event. Here is a chart of recorded wind speed and visibility.
|Date/Time||Wind Direction||Wind Speed||
|11 Jan 4:12 pm CST||NNW||21G26||
|11 Jan 4:05 pm CST||N||20G25||
|11 Jan 3:53 pm CST||NNW||16G23||
|11 Jan 3:34 pm CST||N||16||
About five minutes after the pilot gained clearance to reach a higher altitude a mayday call was heard. The aircraft was lost from radio contact and a request for a search and emergency response was made at around 6:55.
The aircraft was found about 13 miles Northeast of Maxwell in an area that was only accessible with high clearance 4 wheel drive vehicles.
On Saturday morning investigator Latson was joined at the scene of the accident by two FAA inspectors from the Omaha office, the aircrafts manufacturer as well as the manufacturer of the planes engine.
Sunday afternoon all investigative activities at the crash site were complete and the craft was cleaned up from the area by night fall. The craft was taken to Greeley, Colorado for a more thorough team examination, later this week a preliminary report will be filed. Latson said that small aircrafts like the one involved usually don’t have any recorders like cameras or a black box.
After the preliminary report a factual report will be finished within 6-9 months. The public docket could be anywhere from 50-100 pages long which includes radar data, transcripts, witness reports or statements, a weather study and other contributing factors. One the factual report & docket is complete it will be reviewed by board members then published with opinion on the incident.
Latson said that the family and friends of the victims should know that emergency responders who came to the accident scene Friday evening conducted themselves in a very professional manner. Friends and family can be assured that their loved one was treated with respect. The public should be aware of the difficulties that emergency responders have when responding to such a sad location.
The chairman of the NTSB, Deborah Hersman, wants the public to know that the NTSB is regarded as the most open and transparent out of all federal and investigative agencies. Created in 1967 as an independent federal agency, the NTSB has investigated over 132,000 accidents and are considered the gold standard for aircraft investigation.
Witnesses to the incident are encouraged to send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org , the information will be forwarded to the investigator Tom Latson.