NTSB releases preliminary report on deadly Elko plane crash

A fatal plane crash in Elko, Nevada on November 18, 2016. Image courtesy Tyler Belderrain.

A fatal plane crash in Elko, Nevada on November 18, 2016. Image courtesy Tyler Belderrain.

ELKO, Nev. — The National Transportation Safety Board has released their preliminary findings regarding an American Med Flight plane that crashed in Elko, Nevada last month, killing all four people aboard.

The crash occurred November 18 around 7:20 p.m. Pacific Standard Time shortly after the Piper PA-31T “Cheyenne II” took off from Elko Regional Airport. The pilot, two medical crew and a patient were killed after the plane crashed and burst into flames.

According to the report filed by the NTSB this week, a witness reported seeing the airplane leave the airway and begin climbing. During the initial climb, he saw the airplane make a left turn about 30 degrees away from the runway.

The plane then stopped climbing and banked abruptly left, then descended out of sight.

The report states:

“The airplane impacted into a parking lot about .5 miles from the departure end of the runway, and immediately burst into flames. Several secondary explosions happened after impact as a result of fire damage to medical compressed gas bottles and several vehicles that were consumed by the post impact fire. The airplane sustained extensive thermal damage from the postcrash fire. All major structural components of the airplane were located within the wreckage.”

The cause of the crash remains undetermined. Elko City Airport Manager Curtis Calder told the Elko Daily Free Press that he hopes the final report will shed more light on the cause of the crash.

“Very little information that was in the preliminary report was new to us,” he told the newspaper.