Ben Boettger/Peninsula Clarion The tail of a crashed plane sits the woods on Saturday, August 22 at a crash site near South Cohoe Loop Road.

Ben Boettger/Peninsula Clarion The tail of a crashed plane sits the woods on Saturday, August 22 at a crash site near South Cohoe Loop Road.

Kasilof plane crash report describes final descent

Witness reports of what they saw and heard moments before an August plane crash that killed two Kasilof residents are included in a preliminary report on the accident.

The report, released by the National Transportation Safety Board, or NTSB, on Aug. 26, is a compilation of witness testimony, that day’s weather conditions and an initial on-site investigation, said Lead Investigator Shaun Williams. Williams inspected the site of the accident that killed pilot Brian Nolan, 69, and passenger Peter Lahndt, 57, near mile 3 of South Cohoe Loop Road in Kasilof on Aug. 22. The remains of the plane have since been removed.

“We’re still doing the investigation,” Williams said. “We’ll continue to do the examinations on the engine and that sort of thing.”

It is too early to infer the cause of the crash, he said.

NTSB’s initial report outlines what one witness saw and another heard the evening of the accident.

The Cessna 180 first rose, then began to sink toward the tree line, according to the report. “(The witness) said that as the nose of the airplane began to lower, he heard a reduction in engine power, followed by a sound that was consistent with an engine misfiring,” according to the report. “The airplane then descended into an area of tree-covered terrain at the top of the bluff, and it disappeared from view. Immediately after, a loud sound consistent with an impact was heard.”

Kasilof resident Dan Brown was first on the scene of the crash that night, after he heard a loud bang.

In a previous interview with the Peninsula Clarion, Brown said he rushed to the plane.

He said he wanted to see if he could help while his daughter called 9-1-1.

“It was burning when I got to it, and I couldn’t get the guy out. I tried,” Brown said. “I knew there was no hope of getting in there, so I walked two circles around that thing to see if there was anyone that was ejected out of it.”

Williams said the final report on the accident will be released in 10–12 months.

An inspection of the plane’s frame has already been completed, which Williams said included testing the controls and marking points of impact.

“We try to put the aircraft back together,” Williams said. “It’s really just an in-depth look at the aircraft itself.”

Next, the plane’s engine will be sent to Alabama for further investigation with the help of its manufacturer, Continental Motors, Inc.

“The manufacturer has expertise in this engine,” Williams said. “I will go down there. The examination will take place under federal oversight.”

 

Reach Megan Pacer at megan.pacer@peninsulaclarion.com

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