NTSB Investigation Could Take Months

By Rachel DePompa - bio | email
Posted by Terry Alexander - email

LOUISA, VA (WWBT) – Federal investigators were back in Louisa today, taking a last look at the scene before the wreckage of the plane is removed. The pilot of the twin engine Cessna was killed.  While we've learned his identity, we're awaiting official confirmation from the medical examiner. That's not expected until at least Monday.

The home is just off Route 33, a quarter of a mile from the airport. Investigators now believe the plane slammed into the ground and the ensuing explosion burned the house.

"I've just never seen anything that devastating up close," said Randy Crisp, Glen Allen resident.

Cars veered off the road and people stood on the sidewalk just to get a glimpse.

"Glad it's not my house. And I'm glad to hear that the man didn't get hurt," said Louisa County resident Barbara Morrison.

"Just hearing about it and seeing it is two different things," said Bridge Hamilton.

A wheel in the driveway; a hole straight through the middle of the house. It was just yesterday, a pilot traveling from Manassas to Danville, stopped at the Louisa airport to refuel. Moments after take-off, the plane came crashing down.

"The evidence that we've seen this morning is consistent with the plane impacting vertically in the front yard and possibly the explosion from the airplane causing the majority of the damage to the house," said Robert Gretz, NTSB Senior Air Safety Investigator.

Investigators took measurements, pictures, and surveyed the damage to the house. They spent all day stepping through the wreckage searching for clues to a cause.

They say the answers won't come quickly, but eyewitness accounts of the plane's final moments in the air have already given them a good starting point.

"They just said it was running rough and two of the witnesses said that they saw grayish blackish smoke coming from the right engine," said Gretz.

The wreckage will remain here over night and be moved sometime tomorrow to a secure warehouse in Delaware. The investigation could take at least 6 months. 

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