Advertisement

UPDATE | Pilot error cited in 2017 Yeager Airport crash that killed 2

(WSAZ)
Published: May. 5, 2017 at 7:24 AM EDT
Email This Link
Share on Pinterest
Share on LinkedIn
UPDATE 9/25/19 @ 7:25 p.m.

Federal investigators say pilot error likely caused the 2017 crash of a small cargo plane in West Virginia that killed both crew members.

The National Transportation Safety Board issued a final report Wednesday on the May 2017 crash at Yeager Airport in Charleston. The Air Cargo Carriers propeller plane carrying UPS cargo had arrived from Louisville, Kentucky, with a pilot and co-pilot.

The report says an excessive descent and maneuvering during the approach to the airport caused the plane to land hard enough to gouge the runway and break into pieces.

The report also says the flight crew made an "improper" decision to make a circling approach instead of a straight final approach to the airport.

It says the captain's recent performance history indicated his instrument flight skills were marginal.


UPDATE 5/24/17 @ 11:29 p.m.

Crews continue cleanup at Yeager Airport after a deadly cargo plane crash earlier this month.

During a monthly board meeting Wednesday, Yeager Airport executive director Terry Sayre said they've made temporary repairs where the wing hit the runway, but that section will be permanently repaved in the near future.

Sayre also said Clean Harbor has been on scene removing contaminated dirt. Crews already have removed eight to nine dumpsters full of dirt.

At Thursday’s meeting, he also praised the cooperation between all of the responding agencies.


UPDATE 5/17/17 @ 9:10 p.m.

Details are emerging about a plane crash that claimed two lives early this month at Yeager Airport.

According to the preliminary report, the cargo plane crashed at exactly 6:51 a.m. Friday, May 5.

Officials say the plane hit the runway more than 300 feet after the beginning of the runway threshold. From that point it skidded 650 feet before falling down the hillside.

The report did not include any information about weather conditions or the flight plan. Officials say that information may not be posted until next year.

The plane wreckage is in Tennessee undergoing further examination.


UPDATE 5/9/17 @ 4:25 p.m.

Crews on Tuesday lifted six pieces from the plane that slid down the hillside at the airport.

The cargo plane crashed while attempting to land, killing pilot Jonathan Alvarado and co-pilot Anh Ho.

Crews cut the debris up into smaller pieces and then airlifted it out of the woods.

"It's a tragedy and it's unfortunate," said Yeager Airport spokesman Mike Plante. "We lost, as Commissioner Carper pointed out, we lost two people that lived here and were part of our community ... The airport is safe and is dedicated to being as safe as it possibly can."

The pieces were secured to flatbed trucks and will be transported to Springfield, Tennessee, where they will be looked at as part of the investigation.

The airport is also doing environmental remediation on the hillside to make sure no fuel or hydraulic oil made it into the water system.


UPDATE 5/8/17 @ 3:45 p.m.

The pilot involved in the cargo plane crash Friday that killed both himself and the co-pilot had no prior incidents related to safety, the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) says.

Jonathan Pablo Alvarado, 47, of Stamford, Texas, never had a prior accident or incident, according to the FAA.

Alvarado, along with Anh K. Ho, 31, of Cross Lanes, West Virginia, died when the Short 330 aircraft crashed while attempting to land Friday morning at Yeager Airport. Both were pilots for Air Cargo Carriers, which is contracted by UPS.

As far as medical classification, the FAA reports that Alvarado was classified second class and Ho was first class. The FAA says second class still allows pilots to operate commercial planes.

While Yeager airport opened Saturday afternoon, cleanup of the aircraft continues. Most of it came to rest on a hillside away from the runway and taxiways. That cleanup is not affecting flight operations at the airport.


UPDATE 5/7/17 @ 1 p.m.

After meeting with the NTSB, and aircraft manufacturer, Yeager Airport officials have outline a plan to move forward after a cargo plane crashed while landing just before 7 a.m. Friday, killing the pilot and co-pilot.

Yeager Airport Executive Director Terry Sayre says the Airport Response Coordination Center, Operations Department and Maintenance Department will continue to provide support services to the NTSB.

The Kanawha County Sheriff’s Department is still providing security to the site and the Charleston Fire Department is keeping paramedics on the scene in case anyone is injured while working on the investigation and cleanup efforts.

After the NTSB finishes with the plane, the Recovery Company will begin to cut the plane in sections so that it can be removed. Sayre says the sections will be lifted out by helicopter or crane, and will be loaded onto flatbed tractor trailers for removal from the airport.

The removal process should begin Monday or Tuesday and will not affect airport operations.

After the plane is removed the Airport’s environmental contractor, Clean Harbor, will remediate the site to make sure all the fuel and hydraulic fluid have been cleared from the site.

Since the crash, West Virginia American Water has been sampling water from where a creek close to the crash site flows into the Elk River and so far have detected no water contamination.

Sayre estimates that approximately 1,136 outbound passengers have been affected and approximately 1,200 inbound passengers affected by the closure of the airport. The airport was closed all day Friday after the crash and didn’t reopen until around 12:30 p.m. Saturday.

“We have kept additional staffing at the airport today in order to assist the NTSB with any needs they might have and to help passengers who may have faced delays caused by this tragedy,” said Sayre. “Once again, I’m grateful for the assistance of the Kanawha County Commission and President Carper and to all the first responders who have helped us.”


UPDATE 5/6/16 @ 7:07 p.m.

The names of the victims killed in a plane crash at Yeager Airport have been released.

President of Air Cargo Carriers says they were Johnathan Pablo Alvarado, 47, from Stamford, Texas, and Anh K Ho, 31, of Cross Lanes.

Chief Crawford says "our thoughts and prayers are with the families and friends of Mr. Alvarado and Ms. Ho."

Yeager Airports opened back up earlier Saturday afternoon after being closed due to Friday's deadly crash.


UPDATE 5/6/16 @ 2 p.m.

Yeager Airport is back open after a deadly plane crash on Friday morning.

Flights operations are back to normal.

The airport reopened after a morning of clearing debris from the runway. The wing of the plane that crashed also had to be removed from a spot near the runway.

The National Transportation Safety Board is scheduled to give an update on their investigation Saturday afternoon at 4:30.

Keep clicking on WSAZ.com and WSAZ Mobile for the latest.


UPDATE 5/5/17 @ 9:25 p.m.

More details were released Friday night about a deadly plane crash involving a cargo carrier.

Bill English, an investigator with the National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB), gave an update based on the investigation.

During a news conference at Yeager Airport, English says no stress call was sent from the plane, and there was no indication from the pilot before the crash that they were in trouble.

Both the pilot and the co-pilot of the Air Cargo Carriers died. The flight was en route from Louisville, Ky., when it crashed at Yeager Airport just before 7 a.m.

English says there was no post-crash fire.

No names have been released at this time.

Authorities say the Short 330 aircraft came in "too hot" sideways and hit the runway and then rolled and went sideways down a hill. "Too hot" means the plane was coming in at too steep an angle and too fast for a safe landing. English said the plane was in a left bank, meaning the left wing was closer to the ground.

The NTSB will be reviewing surveillance video from the airport and looking into the history of the plane and the pilot and co-pilot, as well as the way the flight was conducted.

Investigators also are reviewing the weather conditions at the time of the accident. They anticipate their investigation at the airport will last three or four days, and then they'll move the wreckage to another site and continue the investigation. They can't say for sure just when they'll be able to determine a probable cause.

English says the plane went down a steep hill and hit small trees and brush on its way down.

Air Cargo Carriers, contracted by UPS, released the following statement Friday evening:

"Air Cargo Carriers can confirm the loss of two valuable flight crewmembers, in an accident earlier today at the Charleston, WV airport. The NTSB and the FAA are beginning to conduct their investigation along with numerous state and local agencies. We are fully cooperating in these ongoing investigations. We would ask that out of respect for the families that have lost loved ones that you respect their privacy for their loss. Air Cargo Carriers will not release any information until the investigation if fully concluded."

English said the investigation has been a team effort.

"We've had great cooperation from the airport and West Virginia Air National Guard" he said. "We will use a drone to document witness marks and wreckage

English said the United Kingdom Air Accident Investigation Branch also will participate with the investigation since the aircraft was manufactured in the UK.

At this point, investigators can't say for sure when the airport will reopen.

Keep checking WSAZ Mobile and WSAZ.com for the latest information.


UPDATE 5/5/17 @ 7:50 p.m.

WSAZ has learned both the pilot and co-pilot who died in a crash Friday morning are from West Virginia.

We have also learned the victims are a man and a woman, but their names have not been released.

Authorities on scene say the Short 330 aircraft came in "too hot" sideways and hit the runway and then rolled and went sideways down a hill. "Too hot" means the plane was coming in at too steep an angle and too fast for a safe landing.

Airport officials say the runway or weather didn't cause the crash, which happened just before 7 a.m.

When emergency crews arrived on scene, they reported heavy entrapment.

Air Cargo Carriers released the following statement Friday evening:

"Air Cargo Carriers can confirm the loss of two valuable flight crewmembers, in an accident earlier today at the Charleston, WV airport. The NTSB and the FAA are beginning to conduct their investigation along with numerous state and local agencies. We are fully cooperating in these ongoing investigations. We would ask that out of respect for the families that have lost loved ones that you respect their privacy for their loss. Air Cargo Carriers will not release any information until the investigation if fully concluded."

Air Guard, Army Guard, Charleston Police and Fire, along with Yeager crews, responded to the crash.

Yeager Airport will remain closed until sometime Saturday.

The NTSB is driving to the scene and will not be able to give the all clear to open the airport until they arrive and examine the scene.

Keep checking WSAZ Mobile and WSAZ.com for the latest information.


UPDATE 5/5/17 @ 8:35 a.m.

Two people have died after a plane crashed into the hillside at Yeager Airport in Charleston Friday, a county spokesperson confirms to WSAZ.

Yeager Airport spokesperson Mike Plante says the Air Cargo Carrier crashed into the hillside upon landing.

The plane is located in the wooded area off Keystone Drive so first responders are having difficulty accessing the plane.

Initial reports said there were four people on board, but that has since been changed to two. A county spokesperson now confirms those two people have died.

When emergency crews arrived on scene, they reported heavy entrapment.

Plante says there was no indication of any issues with the aircraft before the crash.

According to a Metro dispatcher, emergency crews are on scene and a triage area has been set up at the airport.

The airport is operating under a Level 3 emergency which is the highest level. Airport Road has reopened, but only for people who need to get there for airport business. They’re asking everyone else to avoid the area.

Airport officials tell WSAZ it appears one wing hit the runway and skidded off the left of the runway.

Barlow Drive and Keystone Drive are shut down.

Kanawha County Commission President Kent Carper has declared a state of emergency at Yeager Airport due to the aircraft accident. He's urging drivers to avoid any roads in the area.

WSAZ has confirmed that the plane left Louisville airport at 5:41 a.m. Friday. It was contracted by UPS.

No names have been released. However, airport officials have confirmed the pilot and co-pilot were the victims.

Keep clicking on WSAZ Mobile and WSAZ.com for the latest on this story.


ORIGINAL STORY

An air carrier cargo plane has gone off the runway and over a hillside at Yeager Airport, according to Yeager Airport spokesperson Mike Plante. The plane was operated by Air Cargo Carrier, contracted by UPS.

According to a Metro dispatcher, emergency crews are on scene and a triage area has been set up at the airport.

A county spokesperson tells WSAZ the plane crashed in to the hillside upon landing. The plane is located in the wooded area off Keystone Drive.

Right now, First responders are having trouble accessing the plane. The county spokesperson says they believe four people are onboard and there is heavy entrapment. No word yet on extent of injuries.

The plane left Louisville airport at 5:41 a.m. Friday.

The airport is operating under a Level 3 emergency which is the highest level. Airport Road has reopened, but only for people who need to get there for airport business. They’re asking everyone else to avoid the area.

Airport officials tell WSAZ it appears one wing hit the runway and skidded off the left of the runway.

Barlow Drive and Keystone Drive are shut down.

Kanawha County Commission President Kent Carper has declared a state of emergency at Yeager Airport due to the aircraft accident. Her's urging drivers to avoid any roads in the area.

Keep clicking on WSAZ Mobile and WSAZ.com for the latest on this story.

Yeager Crash Scene and Press Conference

Two people are dead after a plane crash at Yeager Airport. Read here for more: http://bit.ly/2pdej4M

Posted by WSAZ NewsChannel 3 on Friday, May 5, 2017