The National Transportation Safety Board has published a preliminary report about the crash that killed two pilots near Three Step Mountain.
Investigators still don’t know what caused the Cessna 208 to crash, but they are digging through data sent from the aircraft that could give some clues. The data show that plane was flying at about 3,400 feet when its altitude changed.
Clint Johnson is the NTSB Regional Office Chief.
“It would appear there was a deviation in altitude, probably two different deviations, immediately after that the plane went into a very, very steep dive, a very rapid dive and continued all the way until ground impact,” Johnson said.
Investigators on the ground found that the wreckage travelled about 180 feet before stopping in an area of heavy brush. A post-crash fire burned much of the fuselage.
The NTSB is investigating other crashes among the Ravn, formerly Era, family of companies. Johnson says they are individual investigations at this point, but they are looking for similarities between the accidents.
“But at this point right now, especially for this most recent accident we need to be able to center in on the on the facts that surround this accident. But that may come a little later on where we start connecting the dots and see if there is similarities throughout the accidents,” Johnson said. “Whereas, training, FAA oversight, maintenance procedures, there’s a whole litany of things. It’s a process of elimination. At this point, nothing has been eliminated.”
The plane was not equipped with cockpit voice or data recorders and was not required to have them. The plane’s wreckage is in Bethel and will be sent to Anchorage.
A full report from the NTSB is expected in about a year.