Saturday, October 19, 2013
The National Transportation Safety Board is searching for clues that will help determine why a private jet crashed near Derby Friday, killing a California evangelist and his pilot.
Investigators from the NTSB, the Federal Aviation Administration and Cessna spent their Saturday in the soybean field southeast of Derby where a 1975 Cessna 500 Citation I crashed, locating debris and documenting the crash site.
"The wreckage is highly fragmented," Tom Latson, the NTSB investigator in charge of the crash, said. "The airplane was destroyed. There is evidence of a fire."
It will take careful study of all that debris, witness reports and other factors to determine why the plane crashed, Latson said. The crash killed 72-year-old Pastor Ed Dufresne and his 49-year-old pilot Mitchell Morgan, both of Murrieta, Calif.
The crash investigation is taking place away from the crash site as well.
"There's another air traffic control investigator from the NTSB that is also looking at all the radar, will be interviewing the controllers, will be listening to the radio tapes," Latson said.
Most of the debris investigators were looking at was located within a few hundred feet of the impact crater. However, some parts of the plane were found about a mile away.
"We also found part of one wing and part of one aileron almost a mile further west from the main wreckage impact crater," Latson said.
That is consistent with what Chase Chambers told KAKE News he witnessed Friday morning. He said he saw the wing and plane falling separately, with a white smoke trail coming from the plane.
The debris will be removed from the field beginning about noon Sunday and will be taken to Dallas. Latson said close inspection of those parts will likely be the only way to determine what went wrong.
"I don't know yet, but I don't expect to find a cockpit voice recorder or a flight data recorder on the aircraft, nor do I think those are required on this aircraft," Latson said.
A preliminary report on the investigation should be released in about a week. The full investigation and the determination of what likely caused the crash could take up to a year to complete.
Latson asked any witnesses to the crash who have not already spoken with the Sedgwick County Sheriff's Office of the NTSB to send an e-mail to firstname.lastname@example.org.