Tuesday, February 19, 2019

Cirrus SR22, registered to and operated by the pilot under the provisions of Title 14 Code of Federal Regulations Part 91 as a personal flight, N917SR: Fatal accident occurred February 15, 2019 in Ely, White Pine County, Nevada

The National Transportation Safety Board traveled to the scene of this accident.

Additional Participating Entity:
Federal Aviation Administration / Flight Standards District Office; Reno, Nevada

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


Location: Ely, NV
Accident Number: WPR19FA084
Date & Time: 02/15/2019, 1715 PST
Registration: N917SR
Aircraft: Cirrus SR22
Injuries: 2 Fatal
Flight Conducted Under: Part 91: General Aviation - Personal 

On February 15, 2019, about 1715 Pacific standard time (PST), a Cirrus SR22, N917SR, was destroyed following impact with terrain while maneuvering at a low altitude, about 3.4 nautical miles (nm) north-northeast of Ely Airport (ELY), Ely, Nevada. The private pilot and passenger received fatal injuries. The airplane was registered to and operated by the pilot under the provisions of Title 14 Code of Federal Regulations Part 91 as a personal flight. Instrument meteorological conditions prevailed at the time and no flight plan was filed. The flight originated from Craig-Moffat Airport (CAG), Craig, Colorado, about 1525 mountain standard time, and was destined for Twin Falls Regional Airport (TWF), Twin Falls, Idaho.

Initial data reported by the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) revealed that the pilot contacted the Denver Air Route Traffic Control Center about 1538. At that time the pilot was observed flying west-northwest bound for about 6 nm, then turned left and flew west-southwest bound; he then climbed to about 17,500 ft mean sea level (msl). At this time the FAA controller questioned the pilot about his route of flight, as the airplane was not heading toward TWF, the destination airport. The pilot responded by saying that [he] was trying to stay away from areas of weather to the north. When the airplane was observed having started a descent from 17,500 ft, the controller instructed the pilot to maintain visual flight rules (VFR) at or above 10,500 ft, which was due to an active military area he were transiting. The pilot acknowledged, but continued to descend below 10,500 ft, saying that he was trying to stay below the cloud deck. While the controller was able at this time to remain in contact with the pilot, radar contact was lost as the airplane descended below 10,000 ft. The controller subsequently issued information about depicted weather north of the airplane's last position, and advised the pilot that ELY was 75 miles to the southwest. The ELY reported weather at this time was wind 170 degrees at 14 knots gusting to 22 knots, visibility 10 miles, with a broken ceiling of 5,000 ft and an overcast ceiling of 6,500 ft. At this time the pilot of N917SR reported that [he] was going to change his destination to ELY. The FAA opined that it was unknown what the minimum vectoring altitudes were between the last known position of N917SR and the ELY airport. Radar contact was not re-established with airplane. However, another airplane operating in the area was able to establish contact with N917SR, and relayed to the pilot that radar service was terminated and to squawk VFR (transponder code 1200). The relay aircraft reported that N917SR acknowledged the instructions. However, there was no further communication between the pilot of N917SR and the controller.

A local Ely resident, who resides just east of the Ely Airport, reported that about 1700 PST, he heard an airplane flying low over his residence in the clouds. The resident stated that the weather was very bad at that time, and that he could not see the house next door to him. He also stated that the clouds were at tree-top level.

The airplane's wreckage was located the following afternoon, February 16, about 3.4 miles northeast of ELY. During the afternoon of February 17, representatives from the NTSB, the FAA, and Cirrus Aircraft arrived at the accident site to assess the damage. The airplane was observed to have impacted shallow, upslope, snow-covered terrain, in a level and slightly nose down attitude. The post-impact debris path was oriented on a measured magnetic heading of about 065 degrees, and extended over a linear distance of about 473 ft. The airplane's at rest heading was not possible to determine, due to the destructive nature of the impact forces and total fragmentation of the airplane. All components of the airplane necessary for flight were accounted for at the accident site.

On February 19, the airplane was recovered to a secured location for further examination. 

Aircraft and Owner/Operator Information

Aircraft Make: Cirrus
Registration: N917SR
Model/Series: SR22 Undesignated
Aircraft Category: Airplane
Amateur Built: No
Operator: On file
Operating Certificate(s) Held: None 

Meteorological Information and Flight Plan

Conditions at Accident Site: Visual Conditions
Condition of Light: Day
Observation Facility, Elevation: , 6259 ft msl
Observation Time: 1704 PST
Distance from Accident Site:
Temperature/Dew Point: -4°C / -4°C
Lowest Cloud Condition:
Wind Speed/Gusts, Direction: 17 knots / 28 knots, 310°
Lowest Ceiling:  Broken / 1600 ft agl
Visibility:  9 Miles
Altimeter Setting: 29.71 inches Hg
Type of Flight Plan Filed: None
Departure Point: Craig, CO (CAG)
Destination: Twin Falls, ID (TWF) 

Wreckage and Impact Information

Crew Injuries: 1 Fatal
Aircraft Damage: Destroyed
Passenger Injuries: 1 Fatal
Aircraft Fire: None
Ground Injuries: N/A
Aircraft Explosion: None
Total Injuries: 2 Fatal
Latitude, Longitude:  39.334167, -114.780556

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.

Phillip and Linda Bethell

A Moffat County couple was killed in a plane crash Friday near Ely, Nevada.

On February 20th, the White Pine County Sheriff’s Office in Nevada released the names of two people — 72-year-old Phillip Bethell and 66-year-old Linda Bethell — who were killed in a plane crash on a hillside north of Ely. The crash was first reported by a “local subject” on Friday morning.

Deputies responded and, with the aid of the reporting party, “discovered the wreckage of a small plane and the remains of two people,” the news release stated.

At the time of discovery, “the victims were unable to be identified due to trauma resulting in the crash. The remains were transported to the Clark County Medical Examiner's Office, where they were identified.”

The cause of the crash is unknown, nor are the reason for the Bethell’s trip last week or their flight plan.

The area in which the Bethells’ plane went down is known for crashes. It gained notoriety after the September 3rd, 2007, disappearance of aviator Steve Fossett — a Chicago millionaire businessman, who also owned a home in Beaver Creek. He became famous for making record-breaking flights.

Fossett’s remains were found in 2008 in California along the Eastern Sierra Nevada, and his disappearance — as well as a history of more than 2,000 plane crashes in the area — have some calling the region “Nevada Roswell” or “Nevada Triangle.”

In addition to the White Pine County Sheriff’s office, the National Transportation Safety Board responded to the incident.

The NTSB stated in a Tweet Friday evening it is investigating the crash of a Cirrus SR22 after it went down about 10 miles northeast of Ely, Nevada.

The Federal Aviation Administration is also involved in the investigation.

Original article ➤ https://www.craigdailypress.com

White Pine County Sheriff's Office
Press Release

On February 16th, at approximately 11:49 am, the Sheriff’s Office received a report from a local subject, who claimed to have discovered what appeared to be a plane crash on a hillside north of Ely. 

Deputies responded and the reporting party led them to the scene. 

Deputies discovered the wreckage of a small plane and the remains of two people. 

The victims were unable to be identified due to trauma resulting in the crash. 

The remains were transported to the Clark County Medical Examiner’s Office, where they were identified as 72 year old Phillip Bethell and 66 year old Linda Bethell, both from Colorado. 

The FAA and NTSB responded and are also investigating the accident. 

At this time the cause of the crash is unknown, but the investigation continues.


  1. very sad. Late afternoon flight into IMC without IFR flight plan in the mountains.

  2. It was time to call it quits, slow down, and pop the 'chute.

  3. So sad ,experienced pilot, temp and dewpoint were same numbers, always a warning sjgn not to fly. We will miss this couple.