Friday, November 20, 2015

Incident occurred November 20, 2015 at Columbia Airport (O22), Tuolumne County, California

Update at 4:45pm: Cal Fire dispatch has confirmed that a single-engine plane with only a pilot on board has landed safely at Columbia Airport. There were no injuries, according to Cal Fire.

Original Post at 4:26pm: Columbia, CA – Emergency crews are positioned along the runway at the Columbia airport after being alerted that airplane may need to make an emergency landing.

Cal Fire received information regarding an airplane having problems with its landing gear shortly after 4 p.m. There is no word on what type of plane or how many people may be on board. 

- Source: http://www.mymotherlode.com

Eurocopter AS350B2 Ecureuil, Alpine Adventures: Fatal accident occurred November 21, 2015 on Fox Glacier in New Zealand

The Civil Aviation Authority (CAA) has suspended a Fox Glacier helicopter company's licence following a crash in November 2015 which killed seven people.

Alpine Adventures managing director James Scott confirmed to Newshub on Monday all 15 of his helicopters were grounded. He received the suspension on Friday night.

Mr Scott will be working to get it reinstated as soon as possible. He says it will have a big effect on his business.

The crash killed six tourists and 28-year-old kiwi pilot Mitch Gamerman. The Squirrel helicopter, on a tourist flight at the time, crashed into a crevassed area of the 13km-long glacier.

It was several days before the bodies and some of the wreckage could be recovered. In April this year further wreckage was recovered, including belly panels and helicopter fragments.

Mr Scott is waiting for further information from the CAA, but is hoping to have the license reissued in the next few days.

The CAA declined to comment.

The inquiry into the crash is still continuing and expected to be completed no earlier than May 2017.

http://www.newshub.co.nz

The alpine cliff recovery team prepare to fly into Fox Glacier.

A recovery helicopter heading to the crash site.


Weather on Fox Glacier at the time of Saturday's fatal crash was slightly marginal but the pilot and company were following procedure, the helicopter operator says.

Alpine Adventures' quality assurance manager, Barry Waterland, told Morning Report helicopter operators in the area make a joint decision on whether conditions are suitable for flying.

Four British and two Australian tourists and the New Zealand pilot died when an AS350 helicopter crashed on Fox Glacier on Saturday morning.

Andrew Virco, 50, and Katharine Walker, 51, from Cambridge, Nigel Edwin Charlton, 66, and Cynthia Charlton, 70, of Hampshire and Sovannmony Leang, 27, and Josephine Gibson, 29 of New South Wales, Australia, were on board, police say, with pilot Mitch Gameren.

Mr Waterland told Morning Report the weather was "a wee bit marginal" on the morning of the crash.

All companies involved in glacier flights assess the weather and if one firm grounds their flights, they all do. "When the weather gets to a certain point, if one company says 'no, we're not flying due to the weather,' everybody shuts down.

"I do believe that on the morning of the crash, things were okay, there were helicopters up there but it's the pilot's call, when he's up there, whether he turns around and comes back down again, because on the ground we can't see right into the glacier.

"If the call had gone out to say that operations had ceased, we'd cease immediately."

He did not know whether the two other companies that fly into the glacier had helicopters in the air at the time of the crash.

Bad weather halts recovery operation

The bodies of four of the seven people killed on Saturday remain at the site this morning and forecast strong winds and heavy rain mean it may be Wednesday before it is safe to recover them.

A break in the weather yesterday allowed recovery teams to retrieve three bodies, which are now in a temporary mortuary in Fox Glacier township.

The wreckage is wedged down a crevasse between massive blocks of ice high on the glacier, and a search and rescue team had to be winched down from a hovering helicopter to get the first bodies out.

"The site is near the top of the glacier, it's all ice, it's not level and there are blocks of ice as big as buildings with crevasses between them," said Police Inspector John Canning. "There will be danger in getting teams into the area and traversing the area."

"While we're determined to return these people to their families, this will be a complex and technical task with an emphasis on the safety of those involved."

Transport Accident Investigation Commission (TAIC) spokesperson Peter Northcote said the intention was to remove all wreckage possible but some debris had not been sighted and the glacier terrain is challenging.

"All the wreckage would have to be prepared for lifting and the nature of the environment will present many access and safety challenges to those involved in that work."

Prime Minister John Key has expressed his condolences to Australian Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull over the deaths of two Australians in the crash.

Mr Key said there had been substantial changes to the regulation of adventure tourism in the last three or four years, and he did not believe the accident would deter tourists.

"I don't think it would put people off coming to New Zealand, or put them off undertaking adventure tourism activities.

"Most people are aware there is a degree of risk when you get in a helicopter, but having said that, there needs to be a full investigation. We need to understand whether it was the weather that caused this issue."

Crash helicopter 'has good safety record'

Pilots say the AS350, a make of helicopter also called the Squirrel, has an excellent safety record.

Helicopter pilot and Aviation New Zealand helicopter division chair Pete Turnbull said the Squirrel was very well thought of.

"It's a make of helicopter that's been in New Zealand for probably 30 years in various guises," he said.

"It's been well established here, well received, and has a very good record. It's had a variety of uses - agricultural, tourist, and even private use. Its got a very good safety record."

Mr Turnbull said the investigation was likely to look at issues such as the weather and the airworthiness of the aircraft, and the wreckage was crucial to finding answers.

However Helicopter Association executive officer John Sinclair said the Squirrel had an excellent safety record in New Zealand, and helicopters in general were very safe in New Zealand. "Until yesterday we have lost one fare-paying passenger in a New Zealand helicopter accident since December 2001."

Fox Glacier businesses said people were still booking flights over the glaciers.

Glacier Country Tourism chair Rob Jewell said the glaciers were still very desirable places to visit and people accepted that accidents sometimes happened, he said.

"We don't know what has happened in this particular instance. That'll come out in due course with the investigators. But people make their decisions and they will still choose to travel."

Story and photos: http://www.radionz.co.nz

Andrew Virco and Katharine Walker were in New Zealand to celebrate turning 50.


Nigel and Cynthia Charlton




World traveller ... Sovannmony Leang, 27, in New York City in September.

Tragic loss ... Josephine Gibson, right, with sister Isabel in March.

Closefamily ... Sovannmony Leang (far right) with brothers Setla and Rolyn Peic.


Katharine Walker from Cambridge worked at Addenbrooke's Hospital.


The pilot of the the helicopter has been named as 28-year-old Mitch Gameren, pictured.


Weather conditions were poor at Fox Glacier at the time of the crash.

Weather conditions in the Fox Glacier valley can change extremely quickly.

Poor weather conditions on Sunday morning were making it difficult for recovery teams to access the site of a fatal helicopter crash on the Fox Glacier.


A search and rescue helicopter heads towards the Fox Glacier valley on Sunday after a helicopter crash killed seven on Saturday. 



The wreckage of the helicopter, which crashed, killing all seven people on board, is seen in a crevasse on Fox Glacier. 




Police have now revealed the identities of all seven victims — six tourists and a local pilot.


They are:


Mitchell Paul Gameren, New Zealand, 28

Leang Sovannmony, Australia, 27

Josephine Gibson, Australia, 29

Andrew Virco, Cambridge, UK, 50

Katharine Walker, Cambridge, UK, 51

Nigel Edwin Charlton, Hampshire, UK, 66

Cynthia Charlton, Hampshire, UK, 70




Colleagues of a British medic who was killed when a helicopter crashed into a glacier in New Zealand have been left devastated by her death, her employer has said.

Katharine Walker, 51, the head of radiotherapy at Addenbrooke’s hospital in Cambridge, was one of six people who died when the sightseeing helicopter crashed into a crevasse on the Fox glacier on Saturday morning.

Three other British tourists – Walker’s partner Andrew Virco, 50, Nigel Charlton, 66, and his wife, Cynthia, 70, from Hampshire – died along with two Australian holidaymakers and the Kiwi pilot.

A spokesman for Cambridge University Hospitals, which runs Addenbrooke’s, said: “Everyone at the hospital is devastated by the news and our thoughts go out to Kath’s family at this very sad time.

“Kath was a much respected member of staff who had worked at Addenbrooke’s for 23 years. We know many of our staff are going to be hit hard by this tragic news and we will be offering additional support for them.”

Walker’s brother, Steve Marshall, told the Sunday Times that his sister and Virco were on a “trip of a lifetime” to celebrate their 50th birthdays, and they tried to take the helicopter trip on Friday but were prevented from doing so by bad weather.

He described Walker as a sociable person and devoted mother to her 22-year-old daughter, Rebecca. He said Virco was a “wonderful person”.

As well as the British victims, Sovannmony Leang, 27, and Josephine Gibson, 29, both from New South Wales, Australia, and the helicopter pilot Mitchell Gameren, 28, from Queenstown, New Zealand, all died.

Gameren’s younger sister Brooke wrote on Facebook: “I feel like I am in a dream and I’m just waiting for you to text me and tell me you’re fine.

“Today we lost a champion. I lost my brother and best mate. I am so blessed to have a brother like you. You have been such a massive role model in my life … I miss you so much already.”

The bodies of three of the victims have been recovered from the crash site and taken to a temporary mortuary facility nearby for formal identification.

It may be Wednesday before the others are recovered because the weather is expected to worsen during Monday and Tuesday.

The helicopter crashed at around 11am local time on Saturday. A picture released by police showed the crumpled remains stuck at the bottom of a wall of ice close to the top of the eight-mile (13km) glacier. 

Reports in New Zealand said Gameren was believed to be an experienced flier. Fox Glacier Heliservices, which organised the flight, said: “Fox Heliservices’ thoughts are with the families of the passengers and pilot. The pilot was a very valued member of our team. The New Zealand police and Civil Aviation Authority have taken over the investigation.”

Story and photo: http://www.theguardian.com

Recovery teams have reached the site of Fox Glacier helicopter crash which killed seven people, as they vow to bring the victims' bodies back to their families.

The Alpine Adventures chopper went down in a "heavily crevassed" area late on Saturday morning, killing all seven on board including local pilot Mitch Gameren, two Australian tourists and four people from the United Kingdom.

Police hope to release some of the victim's names early on Sunday afternoon.

West Coast Inspector John Canning, of Greymouth, said earlier on Sunday that imminent bad weather would hamper the recovery effort but rescue crews would be using "every opportunity" in intermittent breaks in the weather.

The crews were determined to get up the glacier and recovery the bodies for the families, Canning said, but that process could take a couple of days.

"We've got to get those (bodies) back to their families if we can." he said. "Definitely the people will be coming before the aircraft."

Crews would be not heading to the site by foot as it would take several hours and the weather was not on their side, Canning said.

"We will lift them out."


An alpine rescue squad, search and rescue staff and defence force personnel were part of the recovery team and an army helicopter had been brought in to assist.

"That's go a huge lifting capacity as far as staff goes. A normal helicopter round here can prob get three or four in. One of those can get over a dozen in," Canning said.

"We've got to get them on the hill in the break of the weather... and get them to work. (We will) run what we can while the weather holds," he said.

Glacier Country Tourism chairman Rob Jewell confirmed that the no fly zone around the crash site had been extended and that no helicopter companies would run tours today in order to give the recovery helicopters priority.

Visitors who wanted to see the glacier would have to take the walking track, he said.

The six tourists, two Australians and four from the United Kingdom, were believed to have been travelling in separate groups in camper vans. It was not believed there was anyone else travelling with the groups.

Their next of kin were still being notified.

Police search and rescue coordinator Sergeant Sean Judd said on Sunday morning the situation was being assessed every hour and he was hopeful some progress would be made.

Fox and Franz Josef Heliservices ground crew manager Mike Nolan described the crash an "absolute tragedy".

"We just can't believe what's going on. We're just feeling for the families at the moment," he said.

"We don't know a lot about the recovery process just that the weather is hampering search and rescue teams. Mitch was one of our experienced pilots. We're devastated for him and his family. "

Gameren had worked at the company for about six years, mostly during summer as he worked overseas as well, Nolan said. 

"He was a very valued member of our team. We just absolutely can't believe what's happened.".

The company would conduct its own investigation as well as supporting police, the Civil Aviation Authority and the Transport Accident Investigation Commission .

Nolan said the company took its safety very seriously and yesterday's crash was the first time a life had been lost in the more than 20 years he had worked with the company. 

He said the tourists who died were not part of a larger group. 

Weather prevented emergency services from reaching the site Saturday and Metservice meteorologist Emma Blades said bad weather was forecast to continue in the area, causing visibility to be poor, .

"It's going to be wet and fairly windy as well ... [It] won't be a very clear day, that's for sure.

"With the cloud, it's going to be difficult to see anything or get up there, I'd imagine."

Showers were expected to ease during Sunday morning, before becoming more intense in the evening.

DANGEROUS TERRAIN

Police said on Saturday that a recovery effort and scene examination was "likely to take some days".

Inspector John Canning said the helicopter was in a crevasse 762m up the valley. Debris was scattered hundreds of metres around the crash site.

Canning said the recovery would be very difficult in the dangerous terrain.

"I'm not going to risk any more lives, we've lost seven."

Australia's Foreign Minister Julie Bishop had spoken to the families of the two Australian victims.

"My sympathies are with the families of the crash victims at this very distressing time,"  Bishop said in a statement.

She said the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade would keep in close contact with authorities in New Zealand, and provide support to the victims' families.

Earlier, four choppers responded to the crash site, and a paramedic and a rescuer were winched down to the scene.

Vince Cholewa, from the rescue centre, said two choppers had flown from Christchurch, one from Greymouth and one from Fox Glacier, with a cliff rescue team on board.

Cholewa described the area as "heavily crevassed".

Rob Jewell, chairperson of the Glacier Country Tourism Group which represents operators providing tourist and visitor services at Fox Glacier and nearby Franz Josef, said: "We're a small knit community here.

"Here on the West Coast, it's a small village, and everyone knows everybody, so it's a matter of looking after each other.

"We're hurting. It's a real tragedy today. We'll just do what we can to make this as easy as we can for everybody, and obviously our thoughts are with those who lost their lives today and their families and friends."

Fellow Glacier Country Tourism Group member Chris Alexander said emergency services had tried "their damnedest" to reach the scene.

There was cloud and rain in the area where the crash occurred, MetService said.

St John was alerted to the crash at 11.05am on Saturday.

Franz Josef community development officer Helen Lash said the helicopter fraternity were "very, very tight" between the two West Coast towns of Fox Glacier and Franz Josef.

"Anything at this stage is sheer speculation and until official confirmation comes out we won't be releasing comment.

"But our thoughts are certainly with the Fox Glacier community and also the helicopter fraternity, because there are a lot of businesses between Fox and Franz - some of them are duplicated in both towns and it's a very, very tight community. We would like to respect that."

The Transport Accident Investigation Commission has opened an inquiry into the incident, head of communications and support Peter Northcote said.
"We're in the process of deploying a team of four people who will be arriving early evening."

They would find out what happened, and if there was anything that could be done to help prevent another occurrence.

Source:  http://www.stuff.co.nz

Mr. Gameren, pictured right, was a highly experienced helicopter pilot with more than 3,000 hours logged flight time. 


Weather conditions looking towards Fox Glacier today. 

View of Fox Glacier at 10:52 am today, showing the weather conditions around the time of the crash.


Emergency services gather at the Fox Glacier Emergency Services Center. 


An Alpine Adventures Scenic Flights Eurocopter 6 "Squirrel" helicopter. The company operates scenic flights over Fox Glacier and Franz Josef Glacier.


Beech A36TC Bonanza, N7FG: Fatal accident occurred November 20, 2015 in Orlando, Florida

National Transportation Safety Board - Aviation Accident Preliminary Report: http://app.ntsb.gov/pdf 

KAVAK AVIATION LLC
http://registry.faa.gov/N7FG


NTSB Identification: ERA16FA043
14 CFR Part 91: General Aviation
Accident occurred Friday, November 20, 2015 in Orlando, FL
Aircraft: BEECH A36TC, registration: N7FG
Injuries: 2 Fatal.

This is preliminary information, subject to change, and may contain errors. Any errors in this report will be corrected when the final report has been completed. NTSB investigators either traveled in support of this investigation or conducted a significant amount of investigative work without any travel, and used data obtained from various sources to prepare this aircraft accident report.

On November 20, 2015, about 1127 eastern standard time, a Beech A36TC, N7FG, descended into Clear Lake, Orlando, Florida. The private pilot and one passenger were fatally injured, and the airplane was destroyed. The airplane was registered to and operated by Kavak Aviation, LLC, under the provisions of 14 Code of Federal Regulations (CFR) Part 91 as a personal flight. Visual meteorological conditions prevailed at the time, and a visual flight rules flight plan was filed. The flight originated from Orlando Executive Airport (ORL), Orlando, Florida, about 1115, and was destined for Gainesville Municipal Airport (GLE), Gainesville, Texas.

According to preliminary air traffic control (ATC) communications, the pilot was instructed before departure and after takeoff by Orlando Air Traffic Control Tower (Orlando ATCT) personnel to remain outside of Class B airspace. The second instruction by the local controller about 4 minutes after takeoff included an altitude restriction to remain at or below 1,500 feet. The pilot promptly advised the controller the flight was at 2,000 feet and descending.

ATC communications were transferred to Orlando Approach Control, and while in contact with that facility, the pilot advised the controller that the flight was at 1,800 feet and descending. The approach controller asked the pilot why the flight was in Class B airspace without clearance, and then instructed him to fly heading 270 degrees; he did not reply to either instruction. Following a second instruction to turn to heading 270 degrees, the pilot indicated he was, but was unable to disengage the autopilot. A discrete transponder code was assigned, and the pilot then informed the controller that he needed to get the airplane on the ground and requested assistance. The pilot was provided a vector to return to ORL, and about 1121:52, he informed the controller that he had to use full force and asked on the frequency if anybody knew how to turn off the autopilot. An unknown voice instructed him to pull the circuit breaker. The controller asked the pilot if he was able to descend, to which he replied he was pushing as hard as he could on the control yoke. An unidentified voice on the frequency instructed the pilot to pull the autopilot circuit breaker, to which he replied he had but the airplane was porpoising.

Witnesses reported seeing the airplane bank, then observed it descend in a nose-low attitude into the lake. The accident site was about 250 degrees and 4 miles from ORL.

FAA Flight Standards District Office: FAA Orlando FSDO-15

Those who may have information that might be relevant to the National Transportation Safety Board investigation may contact them by email eyewitnessreport@ntsb.gov,  and any friends and family who want to contact investigators about the accident should email assistance@ntsb.gov


Rob and Maria Stimmel


Author: David Williams

For those of you that have been around the sport of wakeboarding and waterskiing for a while, you know who Rob Stimmel is. He's been attached to Jobe for years and was one of the promoters that started Boardstock back in 1996 and carried that torch for many years. Last year, as a representative of Jobe, he went through his warehouse in Washington and donated 28 Jobe boards and bindings for our annual Toys for Tots auction, bringing in thousands of dollars in donations.

On Wednesday, despite the fact that he was on his honeymoon having just been married four days earlier, Rob took the time to send me an email informing me that he'd check and see what he could donate for this year's Toys for Tots auction as soon as he got back to home to Washington. Unfortunately, he was piloting his own plane home on Friday and there were some mechanical difficulties that caused the plane to crash into Clear Lake in Orlando. Rob Stimmel and his new wife, Maria Jose Cepa, were both killed in the accident. Our prayers go out to both families.

ORLANDO, Fla. — A local ski instructor and his wife of just four days were killed in a plane crash on the way home from their honeymoon. 

The pilot, Rob Stimmel, was very well known in the watersport and skiing industry.

Friends say he lived life to the fullest.

Last Friday, Stimmel tried to fly home to Washington with his new wife, but they did not make it.

“He was just a super, outgoing, larger than life guy, involved in so many things," said Stimmel's neighbor and longtime friend, Heidi Lind, from her Sammamish home. Stimmel and his wife, Maria Jose Cepa, were on board a small plan that ended up submerged in an Orlando-area lake.

They had married four days earlier.

Airport transmissions revealed 10 minutes after takeoff Stimmel, who recently bought the plane, was told he was flying too high.

“Turning Left 2-7-0,” said Stimmel in recordings released by officials. “For some reason I could not get my autopilot to disengage.”

The 62-year-old managed to stay calm as he tried to deal with the mechanical problem.

“And we pulled the circuit breaker but it's just, it's going up and it's going down,” he said.

Moments later, the plane went down into Clear Lake, killing Stimmel and Cepa.

Friend and neighbor Shawn Waters told KIRO 7 he was shocked after hearing news of the crash.

“Because Rob is such a good, safe individual and on any plane I know he would check and double check, triple check," he said.

Stimmel was the director of Mohan Skiing & Boarding at Snoqualmie Summit Central.

His wife from Venezuela was an instructor.

The company released a statement, in part saying “We appreciate the support of the entire Mohan community as we recover from this tragic loss and continue preparing for the upcoming season.”

Waters says he’ll never forget how Stimmel brought friends and neighbors together for yearly trips to Shasta Lake in California.

“He was the centerpiece of our fun times together," said Waters.

The FAA said Stimmel was trying to return to the nearby airport in Orlando but did not make it.

The National Transportation Safety Board is investigating.

Story and video:  http://www.kirotv.com





Sheriff Demings



Crews worked Saturday to recover a plane that nosedived into an Orlando lake shortly after takeoff, killing an unidentified man and teen girl a day earlier.

Meanwhile, residents shared stories about how witnesses tried to help after they heard what they thought was an explosion and spotted the Beechcraft Bonanza in Clear Lake in southwest Orlando.

Kelman Riches, 47, went into the water, trying to save the two passengers. But he was too late.

Riches went down several times trying to free the victims. His arm was injured from shards of metal and burning fuel.

Riches, known as "Crazy Kel" by those in the area, said he got a call from a neighbor about the wreck and grabbed a pair of goggles to see if he could help. He said it was hard to see under water because of the leaking gasoline.

"The plane was pretty banged up and the window had broken so I cut myself up pretty good trying to pull the girl out," he said. "When I pulled her out and tried to resuscitate her, you could tell she was already gone."

Riches, a former stunt man, said he cut the man out of his seatbelt using a neighbor's knife. He said he could tell the man was also already dead.

"I was frantic when I dove to help the first one [passenger] but I realized how banged up they were that they were already dead," he said. "It was very rough and hard to see."

On Saturday, a diver placed airbags under the six-passenger plane, allowing crews to move it for extraction, said Tim Monville, an investigator with the National Transportation Safety Board.

The Beechcraft Bonanza, which was bound for Texas, should be removed from the 300-acre Clear Lake off Rio Grande Avenue by Sunday as the investigation continues into Friday's crash.

Monville said investigators should have a preliminary cause within seven days, adding the accident could have been worse if it had crashed into one of the many homes in the area. A final report typically takes several months to complete.

"As best I can see, it's in about eight to nine feet of water…there's substantial damage to the wings and the left door of the aircraft…," Monville said. "The potential if it had not [crashed] in the water, the potential is there."

The plane took off from Orlando Executive Airport at 11:15 a.m. Friday and was heading to Gainesville, Texas, a town about 67 miles north of Dallas. It is registered in Montana.

The plane was only was in the air for about 15 minutes when it nosedived into the lake.

A man who appeared to be in his 50s and a teenage girl were the only two people on board, Orange County Sheriff Jerry Demings said.

Jim Steakley and his wife were just leaving their home at the end of Bren Lee Court Friday when they heard what sounded like an explosion.

The pair looked around and didn't see anything until neighbors started running towards the lake behind their home and said a plane was in the water. The only trace of the accident: Bubbles rising to the surface of the lake just yards from their dock.

Steakley, 65, hopped in his boat to see if he could help. He got there in time to see Riches at work.

"He didn't care. His arm was all scratched and he was having trouble breathing, but he'd just grab a breath of air and go back down," Steakley said.

Orlando firefighters arrived and tried to save the pair.

Another neighbor, 65-year-old Gwendolyn Morris, said she had just got home when she heard the plane go down.

She said they often hear loud planes because the neighborhood is in the flight path of both Orlando Executive Airport and Orlando International Airport. She said she was thankful it didn't crash into any buildings.

"I've always been afraid of something like this happening," she said. "I hear the planes all the time and sometimes they fly very low. Tears came to my eyes when I heard those two people had died, especially since there was a young girl on board. It's so sad."

The plane crashed not far behind New Covenant Baptist Church of Orlando, and witnesses inside said the building shook, Demings said.

Monville said after they extract the plane, they examine it and try to determine if the plane had any problems before crashing. He said that the radar data and radio transmissions will help find out the facts of what happened.

The Federal Aviation Administration is also helping with the investigation.

Story and video:  http://www.orlandosentinel.com




ORLANDO, Fla. - The Orange County Sheriff's Office said two people were killed after a plane crashed into an Orlando lake on Friday morning.

Officials said the crash was reported in 1800 block of West Grant Street at Clear Lake just before 11:30 a.m.

The Federal Aviation Administration said the Beech A36TC Bonanza crashed into the lake approximately 5 miles from Orlando Executive Airport.

Deputies said the victims killed were a man in his 50s and a female, who could be father and daughter. They haven't been identified.

The plane, which was registered from Montana, was headed to Gainesville, Texas, according to deputies.

Kelman Riches was working on his dock when he saw the plane go down.

"The airplane was going along and he lost control, did a loop, then nose dived straight into the lake," Riches told News 6.

Riches then dove until the water and pulled out the two victims on board the single-engine plane. 

Jim Steakly drove his boat to the wreckage trying to help out. 

"Just a sad situation. You're having fun one moment, and the next moment ... there it is," Steakly said. 

News 6 helicopter Sky 6 flew over the lake where a small plane was spotted underwater. 

The National Transportation Safety Board and the FAA are both investigating the accident.

Story, video and photo gallery: http://www.clickorlando.com


Sheriff Demings


ORLANDO, Fla. —A small six-seater plane en route to Texas crashed into an Orlando lake Friday, killing the only two people believed to be on board.

A small six-seater plane en route to Texas crashed into an Orlando lake Friday, killing the only two people believed to be on board. Michelle Meredith (@MichelleWESH) has the latest update.

It happened on Clear Lake, just south of State Road 408 and John Young Parkway, around 11:25 a.m.

"I saw that go down, with the tail up and the wings looking at me," said witness Bobby Ray.

The force of the impact could be felt by those who were nearby at a local church.

"From what they tell me, they felt the shake, heard the noise from the plane, and looked out," said Orange County Sheriff Jerry Demings.

Officials said the Beech A36TC Bonanza had just taken off from Orlando Executive Airport, bound for Gainesville, Texas, when the pilot reported problems with the autopilot system. The pilot was attempting to return to Executive, when the plane went into the water, according to the Federal Aviation Administration.

A man in his 50s and a young woman were killed. Orange County authorities are working to confirm their identities.

Boaters and kayakers on the lake were seen trying to get to the crash scene to offer assistance before rescue crews arrived.

Witnesses said they could tell there were no survivors.

"I see the rescue team pulling the body out, and I see them laying him or her on a stretcher," said witness Anthony Agost.

FAA pilot examiner Eric Norber said the Beech A36TC Bonanza plane is a very powerful and capable aircraft, but requires a substantial amount of training to fly.

"He did not appear to have the level of knowledge or the command of the systems of the aircraft that you would expect of somebody who was flying this level of sophisticated aircraft. It's essential that the pilot receive adequate training about the systems, the operation of the aircraft and how to maneuver the aircraft," Norber said.

WESH 2 News checked with the plane's FAA registry records and received the following message: "The aircraft's registration status may not be suitable for operation."

Norber said that could mean the airplane was just purchased or had recently been out of service.

The Orange County Sheriff's Office has taken the lead on the death investigation, and the National Transportation Safety Board will investigate the probable cause of the crash.

Story and video:  http://www.wesh.com



















Beech F33A Bonanza, N9318Q: Fatal accident occurred November 19, 2015 in North Salem, New York

http://registry.faa.gov/N9318Q 

NTSB Identification: ERA16FA044 
14 CFR Part 91: General Aviation
Accident occurred Thursday, November 19, 2015 in North Salem, NY
Aircraft: BEECH F33A, registration: N9318Q
Injuries: 2 Fatal.

This is preliminary information, subject to change, and may contain errors. Any errors in this report will be corrected when the final report has been completed. NTSB investigators either traveled in support of this investigation or conducted a significant amount of investigative work without any travel, and used data obtained from various sources to prepare this aircraft accident report.

On November 19, 2015, about 1545 eastern standard time, a Beech F33A, N9318Q, impacted the Titicus Reservoir near North Salem, New York, while executing a non-precision instrument approach into the Danbury Municipal Airport (DXR), Danbury, Connecticut. The private pilot and the passenger were fatally injured. The airplane came to rest in about 60 feet of water and sustained damage to the flight control surfaces and fuselage. The airplane was registered to the pilot and operated as a 14 Code of Federal Regulations Part 91 personal flight. Instrument flight rules were reported at the airport at the time of the accident. The flight originated at the Mid-Ohio Valley Regional Airport (PKB), Parkersburg, West Virginia, about 1325.

A preliminary review of air traffic control (ATC) communications revealed the pilot was vectored to and cleared for the LOC RWY 8 approach. The pilot acknowledged the clearance. As the controller was preparing to terminate radar services and transfer communications, he noticed the airplane was in a descending right turn away from the airport. The airplane descended to an altitude of 1,500 feet before it began a climb to 2,400 feet on a westerly heading. The airplane then disappeared off radar. An initial search for the airplane was not conducted due to poor weather conditions. Airplane debris was located the following day on the shoreline of the Titicus Reservoir, about 8 miles southwest of the airport.

Weather reported at the airport at 1353, was wind from 140 degrees at 6 knots, visibility 1.25-mile, light rain, mist, overcast ceiling 900 feet, temperature 14 degrees, dewpoint 12 degrees, and a barometric pressure setting 30.09 in Hg, with remarks that the ceiling was variable between 600 and 1,200 feet.

The pilot held a private pilot certificate for airplane single-engine land, instrument airplane. His last Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) third class medical was issued on May 19, 2015. At that time, he reported a total of 1,940 total hours

The airplane will be placed in a secure facility for further examination once it is recovered from the water.


FAA Flight Standards District Office: FAA New York FSDO-15 

Those who may have information that might be relevant to the National Transportation Safety Board investigation may contact them by email eyewitnessreport@ntsb.gov,  and any friends and family who want to contact investigators about the accident should email assistance@ntsb.gov

Taew and Val Horsa



The search for the airplane which plummeted into the Titicus Reservoir last week was called off Saturday after divers recovered more parts from the aircraft.

The state Department of Environmental Protection’s dive team recovered the propeller and engine parts of the plane that disappeared from radar during its approach to Danbury Airport in Connecticut on Nov. 19, Adam Bosch, spokesman for the DEP, wrote in an email.

Bosch wrote that the DEP, which took the lead in the recovery of the airplane, will cease its search of the reservoir's floor for additional airplane parts. The Federal Aviation Administration and National Transportation Safety Board will continue the investigation into the crash.

The recovery of additional parts of the plane comes a day after significant human remains were found in the cockpit of the plane at the bottom of the reservoir, as well as another of the plane’s wings.

The human remains discovered at the reservoir have yet to be identified, the Westchester Medical Examiner’s Office said on Saturday.

Val Horsa, who was the pilot, and his wife, Taew, are believed to be the only two people in the four-person airplane when it crashed, according to Horsa’s son, Eric.

Val Horsa and his wife were flying in their 1971 Beechcraft Bonanza as they returned from a pleasure trip in Tunica, Mississippi, on Nov. 19. The plane stopped at the Mid-Ohio Valley Regional Airport in Williamstown, West Virginia, before leaving for Danbury at 1:25 p.m. It had been due in Danbury Airport shortly before 4 p.m.

The plane vanished from radar during its approach to Danbury Airport around 4:30 p.m. as it was flying through bad weather.

The investigation into the plane’s whereabouts pointed across the state border in the area of the Titicus Reservoir.

Local and state authorities began the search for the plane in the reservoir and in the heavily wooded area around it that same night. Boats with floodlights could be seen scouring the river. Authorities had to call off the search around 1 a.m. due to heavy fog.

On Nov. 20, officials spotted an oil sheen in the middle of the waterway, and later found human remains, in addition to small pieces of debris from the plane, including a seat and wheels.

Divers discovered a portion of the plane's rear fuselage, as well as additional debris from the plane, in the reservoir in approximately 60 feet of water on Nov. 21. A specialized contractor was also called in earlier this week to assist in recovery of the sunken plane.

Eric Horsa, of Ridgefield, watches on Wednesday as authorities continued their search of the Titicus Reservoir for pieces of a small plane that crashed last week in North Salem, N.Y. Horsa believes his father and stepmother, Val Horsa and Taew Robinson, were on board the aircraft.


NORTH SALEM, N.Y. — A “significant” amount of human remains were recovered Friday from a Westchester County reservoir where a small plane crashed more than a week ago.

The Westchester County Medical Examiner’s Office might identify the victims as early as Monday, according to Adam Bosch, a spokesman for the New York City Department of Environmental Protection.

While authorities have yet to identify the victims, Ridgefield resident Eric Horsa has said he believes his father, Val Horsa, and stepmother, Taew Robinson, owners of a Danbury restaurant, were the two occupants of the plane that went down on Nov. 19 into the Titicus Reservoir.

Investigators from the New York State Police and DEP have been combing the reservoir for more than a week.

Bosch said the majority of the small plane has been recovered, including large portions of the wings, the cockpit and the tail. A control panel and a firewall that sits between the occupants and the engine were found on Wednesday.

Other items recovered from the plane have included clothing, seat cushions and other personal belongings, which washed up on the reservoir’s shore.

He said on Friday the only remaining piece targeted by divers was the plane’s engine.

Eric Horsa said his father and stepmother were owners of Bangkok Restaurant in Danbury and that his father had been flying for 30 years.


The South Salem, N.Y. couple was returning to Danbury Airport from a short trip to Mississippi when the plane disappeared from radar.



Significant human remains” were recovered Friday , along with additional debris, in the ongoing search for the small plane believed to have crashed into the Titicus Reservoir last week.

Divers recovered more human remains in the North Salem reservoir, Adam Bosch, spokesman for the Department of Environmental Protection, wrote in an email. The remains were found inside the cockpit area of the plane.

Bosch said that “it seems likely” the Westchester County Medical Examiner’s Office may be able to confirm the identities of the plane’s occupants by Monday.

Val Horsa and his wife, Taew, are believed to be the two people in the four-person aircraft when it crashed, according to Horsa’s son, Eric.

Divers searching the reservoir also recovered the cockpit portion of the airplane, and a significant portion of another wing. The only large piece of the plane yet to be recovered is the engine, Bosch said, but divers believe they know where it may be. Crews will continue their search on Saturday.

Val Horsa, who was the pilot, and his wife were flying in their Beech F33A Bonanza as they returned from a pleasure trip in Tunica, Mississippi, on Nov. 19. The plane stopped at the Mid-Ohio Valley Regional Airport in Williamstown, West Virginia, for about half an hour before leaving for Danbury at 1:25 p.m. It had been due in Danbury Airport shortly before 4 p.m.

But as the plane was flying through bad weather around 4:30 p.m., it vanished from radar during its approach to Danbury Airport. The investigation into the plane’s whereabouts pointed across the state border in the area of the Titicus Reservoir.

Local and state authorities began the search for the plane in the reservoir and in the heavily wooded area around it that same night. Boats with floodlights could be seen scouring the river. Authorities had to call off the search around 1 a.m. Friday morning due to heavy fog.

On Friday, officials spotted an oil sheen in the middle of the waterway, and later found human remains, in addition to small pieces of debris from the plane, including the a seat and wheels.

Divers discovered a 20-by-20 foot portion of the plane's rear fuselage in the reservoir last Saturday. Divers battled cold temperatures as they attempted to retrieve the fuselage in approximately 60 feet of water. Additional debris, including the plane’s wing flap, seat and door were also found.

A specialized contract was called in earlier this week to assist in recovery of the sunken plane.


Source:  http://www.lohud.com





NORTH SALEM, N.Y. — Officials expect little progress Monday in the search for a downed plane, which is believed to be carrying the longtime owners of a Danbury restaurant.

Rescue teams on Sunday found the back portion of the tail’s fuselage and what appears to be the passenger compartment in a Westchester County reservoir, but those pieces were too heavy to be pulled, said Adam Bosch, a spokesman for the New York City Department of Environmental Protection.

Bosch said his agency and the National Transportation Safety Board hope a contractor with heavy equipment will come to the Titicus Reservoir in North Salem, N.Y., as early as Tuesday to remove the plane.

Authorities said the large pieces recovered so far are consistent with a 1971 Beechcraft Bonanza that was returning to Danbury Airport when it vanished south of the reservoir about 4:30 p.m. Thursday.

Although officials have not yet identified the human remains found in that reservoir, Ridgefield resident Eric Horsa has said his father and stepmother are likely the victims.

The South Salem, N.Y., couple — Val Horsa and Taew Robinson — left Danbury Airport Monday for short a trip to Mississippi and have been missing since Thursday, Eric Horsa said.

The couple owned Bangkok Restaurant on Newtown Road.

Evidence of the victims believed to be inside the plane haven’t been found, but Bosch said some items have washed ashore, including a piece of clothing and an eye-glasses case.

Smaller pieces of the plane’s body and the wing have also been found, but the nose and most of the main cabin remain missing.




DANBURY, CT (WFSB) - A couple on a quick trip to celebrate a birthday was killed after their Danbury-bound plane disappeared into a New York reservoir. 

On Friday, search crews from several towns in New York for a missing single-engine plane that was bound for Danbury Municipal Airport. They located human remains, along with some debris, but still no sight of the plane.

The couple believed to be aboard the plane was identified as Val and Taew Horsa by their son.

"We'll see you when we get back, don't worry about me,” Eric Horsa, who is the son of Val Horsa, said.

Eric Horsa said that's how it was with his father and flying.  Val Horsa and his step mom, Taew, took off Sunday for Mississippi.

"He was always conscientious about safety.  The right amount of weight, the fuel,” Eric Horsa said.

Eric Horsa said his dad had been flying for roughly 30 years.

The Beech F33A Bonanza was last on radar about 6 miles from the airport on Thursday around 4:30 p.m. Its disappearance prompted the search near North Salem, NY. 

State police in New York confirmed that suspected debris from the Beech F33A Bonanza was located around 9 a.m. on Friday.

Official said they recovered a seat and wheels thanks to a sheen that was spotted on the water of the Titicus Reservoir.

"It was basically to get a little relaxation because in the restaurant business there is no free time, when your days are off you're still working,” Eric Horsa said. “In order for my mom, he would take her away, so there was no way to getting to her addiction, which was the restaurant. She loved it."

In 1986 the couple opened the Bangkok Thai Restaurant on Newtown Road in Danbury. Friends at the Bangkok Thai Restaurant said Taew’s passion was cooking and for Val, it was flying.

"Every year they'd go places.  I went to the Bahamas with them, went to Maryland,” friend Phouvieng Chanla said.

Chanla said she used to waitress at the restaurant years ago and remained friends with the couple

"My husband called me this morning and was like I heard the plane crash in Danbury, ‘hope it’s not Val or Taew,’” Chanla said.  “I was like, ‘no it’s not them, they're on vacation.’ And around 11 [a.m.] he texted my friend and was like yes."

Officials from the New York State Department of Environmental Protection and several other area police and fire departments have been searching the Titicus Reservoir since they were notified around 8:30 p.m.

They said Friday morning that they had to temporarily suspend the search because of fog. They resumed a few hours later with helicopters scouring the area.

Crews called off the search for Friday night, but the New York City authorities said it will be back out on Saturday morning at sun rise to resume their efforts.

With potential debris discovered, divers from the New York State Police and Department of Environmental Protection will be searching the reservoir's waters as part of the investigation.

The reservoir stores 7 billion gallons of water, but officials said there is no threat to the water supply.

A sudden loss everyone was struggling to deal with on Friday.

"You just never know when to say goodbye,” Eric Horsa said. 

Story and video: http://www.wfsb.com


 Val and Taew Horsa


NORTH SALEM - Searchers have found human remains as well as debris, including a seat and wheels, from a small plane believed to have crashed into the Titicus Reservoir Thursday evening as it approached Danbury Airport, officials said Friday.

Two people are believed to have died in the crash.

Eric Horsa of Ridgefield, Connecticut, identified the pilot on Friday as his father, Val Horsa, of South Salem. He said his stepmother, Taew Horsa, a native of Thailand, also was on board the 1971 Beechcraft Bonanza.

He said his father and stepmother are fixtures at the Bangkok Thai Restaurant in Danbury, which they have owned since 1996.

The plane lost radar contact as it approached Danbury Airport about 4:30 p.m. Thursday.

Eric Horsa, Val Horsa's only child, said the couple been on a short pleasure trip to Mississippi. They left on Sunday and were due to return back Thursday afternoon.

He said his father was an experienced pilot who had been flying since 1985, flying as far as the Bahamas on trips. He said his father wasn't the type to fly in particularly hazardous weather conditions, and was experienced dealing with a variety of weather, so he speculated something mechanical may have gone wrong with the plane.

"He was a great guy. Everybody loved him," Eric Horsa said. He said his father was "hard but fair" and "still had many good years left."

He called Taew Horsa a "wonderful woman" and said she treated him like he was her own son.

FlightAware, an online tracking service, said the plane had traveled from Danbury through Blue Grass Airport in Lexington, Kentucky on Sunday before arriving that afternoon in Tunica, Mississippi — a town in the northwest part of the state known for its casinos. It left Tunica Thursday, stopping at the Mid-Ohio Valley Regional Airport in Williamstown, West Virginia, for about half an hour before leaving for Danbury at 1:25 p.m. It had been due in to Danbury shortly before 4 p.m.

Mike Safranek, operations manager at the airport, said that the agency that coordinates air traffic in the greater New York City area handed the flight's tracking over to Danbury at about 3:45 p.m., but Danbury's tower never made contact with the plane after that and it never entered the airport's airspace.

When the plane failed to arrive, the airport immediately notified local emergency responders and then the Federal Aviation Administration, he said. The subsequent investigation determined the plane had last been on radar about 8.3 miles out from the airport, across the state line in the vicinity of the Titicus Reservoir.

That triggered a search by New York authorities that began in the rain and fog Thursday night.

Lt. Bill Flynn of the New York City Department of Environmental Protection was among the searchers out late Thursday night into Friday morning. At least four search boats and divers scoured the reservoir before the search was suspended shortly after 1 a.m. due to weather conditions. It resumed Friday morning.

Officials first spotted an oil sheen in the middle of the waterway Friday, then found the seat and wheels, and later additional small pieces of debris, according to DEP spokesman Adam Bosch. The tires were found south of the sheen, he said, while other debris was found to the north.

At 3:30 p.m. he told reporters that searchers had located "human remains," as well as a laptop and clothing from the plane. Representatives of the Westchester Medical Examiner's office were responding to the scene.

The reservoir is about 70 feet deep in the search area, he said.

Divers from the New York City Department of Environmental Protection and New York State Police were using sonar Friday as part of their search for the wreckage. State Police said the response also included the Croton Falls Fire Department, Yorktown Heights Fire Department, and the Civil Air Patrol.

Bosch said the search would end at sundown Friday and resume Saturday. Once the plane is located and recovered, he said, the National Transportation Safety Board is expected to send representatives to investigate the circumstances of the crash.

Safranek, at the Danbury Airport, said the gloomy weather conditions Thursday had led to a requirement pilots travel under instrument flight rules.

"Some people are comfortable flying in those conditions," he said. "Some people, when it gets that bad out, would rather not go out."

Story,  video and photo gallery: http://www.lohud.com






Eric Horsa watches from the shores of Titicus Reservoir in North Salem as rescue workers resume their search for a plane piloted by his father Val Horsa Nov 20, 2015. The plane went missing late Thursday afternoon. 



Adam Bosch, spokesman for the New York City Department of Environmental Protection, speaks about debris found from a plane in Titicus Reservoir in North Salem.



NORTH SALEM, N.Y. — A plane enthusiast, Val Horsa often took short, spontaneous trips with his wife to take a break from running their popular Thai restaurant in Danbury.

But their four-day visit to Mississippi this week might have been their last.

The couple’s son, Eric Horsa, believes his parents, Val Horsa and Taew Robinson, were on board a small plane that went missing Thursday in the area of a Westchester County reservoir on its way to Danbury Airport.


Although officials have not yet identified the human remains and plane debris found Friday in the Titicus Resevoir in North Salem, Eric Horsa said his father and stepmother are likely the victims.

Eric Horsa said his father has been flying for about 30 years.

Val Horsa and Taew Robinson, of South Salem, have owned Bangkok Restaurant for just as long, Eric Horsa said. According to its website, Bangkok Restaurant was the first Thai eatery in Connecticut when it opened in 1986. Taew Robinson, who was born in Thailand, was the restaurant’s main chef.

The couple left Danbury Monday for a short trip to Mississippi.

Eric Horsa became concerned Friday morning when he heard about a missing plane in the reservoir area. He tried calling his parents and someone caring for their home who said the couple hadn’t yet returned.

The couple were returning to Danbury Airport when the plane was lost from radar just south of the reservoir about 4:30 p.m. Thursday.

Search teams on Friday recovered a seat, wheels and some personal belongings they say likely came from the missing  Beech F33A Bonanza.

Phouvieng Chanla, who has worked at the Bangkok Restaurant since she was a young girl and thought of Horsa and Robinson as “parents,” said the couple went to Mississippi to celebrate Taew’s birthday.

Chanla said she often flew with them, going on vacations with the family. She said Horsa was an “excellent pilot.”

“They liked to have fun,” said Chanla, who has worked at the restaurant since 1989. “Taew was very funny, and a great cook. I remember when the restaurant got its four-star rating. We were the only Thai restaurant in Connecticut at the time.”

Panjavist Wangjalsook is the assistant chef at the restaurant and has worked alongside Taew for 10 years. He also lived with the couple in their South Salem home.

“Taew did everything, had her hand in every dish,” Wangjalsook said. “I spoke with her Wednesday evening and she said ‘See you tomorrow.’”

Wangjalsook said police came to the couple’s home about 9 p.m. Thursday night.

“They asked me about Val and Taew’s plans,” he said Friday. “When they were due back. We had closed the restaurant while they were gone. We were going to reopen today, but of course, we didn’t.”

Adam Bosch, a spokesman for the New York Department of Environmental Protection, said authorities in helicopters spotted an oil sheen in the Titicus Resevoir Friday morning leading to the discovery of the seat and wheels that he said were “consistent” with a small plane.

The Westchester County Medical Examiner’s Office is examining the human remains, Bosch said. Also found in the water were some clothing, a laptop bag and small parts of an airplane.

Police, helicopters, divers and local fire departments combed the area Thursday until calling off the search about 1 a.m. Friday due to rain and fog.

The search resumed all day Friday and is expected to continue Saturday.

The Croton Falls Fire Department, Yorktown Heights Fire Department, Civil Air Patrol and New York State Police aviation also assisted in the search.

Danbury Airport Administrator Paul Estefan said he’s monitoring the search, but the airport is not involved in the operation.

Source:  http://www.newstimes.com


A DEP Police aviation unit conducts a search for a missing plane in Titicus Reservoir in North Salem Nov 20, 2015. The plane was on its way to Danbury Airport when it went missing.


The DEP Police command post near the dam at Titicus Reservoir in North Salem during the search for the missing plane Nov 20, 2015



  







Adam Bosch, spokesman for the New York City Department of Environmental Protection.

Eric Horsa watches from the shores of Titicus Reservoir in North Salem as rescue workers resume their search for a plane piloted by his father Val Horsa Nov 20, 2015. The plane went missing late Thursday afternoon.



The DEP Police command post near the dam at Titicus Reservoir in North Salem during the search for the missing plane Nov 20, 2015.








































Eric Horsa, of Ridgefield, comforts his wife, Portia, Friday morning as authorities search the Titicus Reservoir in North Salem, N.Y., for a plane that went missing while approaching the Danbury Municipal Airport on Thursday afternoon. Eric Horsa identified the pilot and passenger of the plane as his father, Val Horsa, and his step-mother, Taew.