WILBER TWP – A new report on a commuter aircraft crash that occurred in Wilber Township on Sept. 25 provides a few new details of the incident.
The report was issued by the National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB), which is investigating the cause of the crash along with the Federal Aviation Administration.
The aircraft was a Beechcraft Air King 10-passenger turbo-prop plane owned and operated by Kalitta Equipment LLC, Ypsilanti, which was traveling to Oscoda to fly an air charter, officials said. The company is not owned or operated by the Oscoda aircraft maintenance company Kalitta Air, officials from that company have said.
The crash occurred in Huron-Manistee National Forest land in Wilber Township, and was initially discovered by Oscoda Township Police Department officials in the morning hours and investigated by the Michigan State Police.
The aircraft, was en route to the Oscoda-Wurtsmith Airport from Ypsilanti to take a charter of passengers from Oscoda to Memphis, Tenn., departing from Ypsilanti at 6 a.m. The aircraft’s pilot activated runway lights at the airport, but never landed. Runway lights at the airport can be activated by pilots via cockpit radios at the airport.
After the crash was located, the remains of the pilot were found and are believed to be a 33-year-old Orland, Fla. man, positive identification is still pending, according to Michigan State Police officials (MSP).
“Due to the condition of the victim they are having a difficult time getting a positive identification,” said Det/Sgt. John Richards. “The use of dental records for positive identification is not an option at this time. Unfortunately I do not have a time line on when the medical examiner will be able to confirm the identity of the victim.”
According to the NTSB preliminary report the airplane was destroyed by “impact forces and a post-impact fire.”
The NTSB report went on to state that “instrument meteorological conditions existed near the accident site at the time of the accident, and the flight was operated on an instrument flight rules flight plan.”
According to the report the “pilot was cleared for the area navigation global positioning system runway 6 approach,” but the aircraft never landed and a search was started by local officials
An on scene investigation of the accident site revealed, according to NTSB investigators, clipped tree tops prior to the aircraft’s ground impact. They said in the report that fire consumed the entire aircraft.
“There were numerous chop marks in the trees,” the report stated. “Examination of various actuators indicated the landing gear was down and approach flaps had been set.”
New details of the crash, including official confirmation of the pilot’s name, will be included in future reports on the incident.