ELKO – A federal report filed this week included a witness account of the American Medflight plane crash on Nov. 18, which killed all four people aboard.
The Piper PA-31T Cheyenne II “was destroyed when it impacted terrain following a loss of control during initial climb from the Elko Regional Airport,” according to the National Transportation Safety Board.
The twin-engine, turbine-powered plane took off at 7:20 p.m. in an east-northeasterly direction. The wind was approximately 8 mph from an east-southeasterly direction, and the temperature was 33 degrees.
“During a telephone conversation with a National Transportation Safety Board investigator, a witness located at the Elko Airport reported that the airplane departed runway 06. During the initial climb, he stated that the airplane made an initial left turn about 30 degrees from the runway heading, then stopped climbing and made an abrupt left bank and descended out of his line of sight,” stated the NTSB report, which was filed Wednesday.
“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,” continued the report.
The plane sustained extensive damage from the fire but all of its major structural components were located within the wreckage, according to the NTSB.
Elko City and Airport Manager Curtis Calder said he is hoping the final report will reveal the cause of the crash.
“Very little information that was in the preliminary report was new to us,” he said.
Killed in the crash were American Medflight pilot Yuji Irie of Ely; paramedic Jake Shepherd of Nibley, Utah; flight nurse Tiffany Urresti of Elko; and patient Edward Clohesey of Spring Creek.
Elko’s airport has not had an FAA tower to record flight information since the agency closed it in 1990.
“Night, visual meteorological conditions prevailed and an FAA instrument flight plan was filed but had not been activated for the intended flight to Salt Lake City,” stated the NTSB.
The agency said the wreckage has been taken to a secure location, and detailed examinations of the airframe and engines are pending.