A federal report says parts of the right wing of a medical transport plane that crashed in Nevada on February 24 fell far from the site of the wreck.
Las Vegas, Nevada • A new federal report says parts of the right wing of a medical transport plane that crashed in rural Nevada last month, killing all five people on board, fell far from the main wreckage site.
The National Transportation Safety Board’s findings, released Wednesday, may support the agency’s original theory that the plane broke up before it hit the ground. But NTSB did not disclose a probable cause in its three-page preliminary report.
The agency says portions of the plane’s right wing were located up to 1.1 kilometers (0.7 miles) from where the single-engine Pilatus PC12 crashed in Stagecoach, Nevada, a rural community of about 2,500 people outside of Reno.
Authorities said the Care Flight, piloted by Scott Walton, 46, was flying from Reno to Salt Lake City, Utah, when it crashed around 9:15 p.m. on Feb. 24 amid a winter storm. Care Flight is a service of REMSA Health and its Airline Provider is Guardian Flight.
In a statement Wednesday, Guardian Flight said it was reviewing the preliminary report and assessing any “additional steps” to strengthen its safety protocols: “The safety and welfare of our patients and crew is our top priority and we will continue to work to ensure that.” Investments to strengthen our commitment.”
The other victims also included patient Mark Rand, 69, and his wife Terri Rand, 66, and two medical crew members, Edward Pricola, 32, and Ryan Watson, 27.
Walton contacted air traffic control minutes before the crash to report that the plane was reportedly climbing over 15,400 feet (4,694 meters). But “no further radio messages were received” from the pilot, the report says.
Just minutes later, the plane began to fall — falling about 8,000 feet (2,440 meters) in 30 seconds — before the plane’s navigation system went dark, the report said.
Dan Rose, an aviation lawyer representing relatives of the Rands, told The Associated Press he was disappointed with the report’s lack of attention to weather conditions at the time.
The National Weather Service said it was snowing steadily as the flight left Reno, with winds of about 18 mph and gusts of up to 31 mph. Visibility was under 2 miles (3.2 kilometers) with cloud cover at about 2,000 feet (600 meters).
Rose said he believed the crash was “completely avoidable,” noting that “the family would like the NTSB to carefully review the initial decision to fly at all during a storm.”
According to Rose, Mark Rand’s condition was not “life critical” when the decision was made to move him to another facility.
“It really starts with the decision to leave at all, which should never have been made,” Rose previously told the AP shortly after he was acquired by the Rand family. Rose is a former Navy pilot who has been litigating aviation cases for 25 years.
The NTSB is expected to release its final report with a probable cause within two years.
https://www.sltrib.com/news/nation-world/2023/03/15/wing-parts-air-ambulance-fell-far/ Wing parts of an air ambulance fell far from the wreckage