The Crash Site
The BA-31 Jetstream impacted the ground as the pilots were attempting to make an emergency landing after all engine power was lost. Tragically, the aircraft appears to have simply dropped from the sky like a ball when all engine-power was lost.
Eyewitness reports from people residing near the crash site said that a fireball was seen billowing up into the sky after the airplane impacted the ground. Trees surrounding the impact point appear scorched only. There were no signs of the aircraft skimming the tops of the trees prior to impact which investigators. It appears to have been un-controlled contact with terrain.
Fuel Starvation Theory
Analysis of preliminary crash data leads me to believe that the aircraft simply ran out of fuel. As unbelievable as that sounds the possibility does exist that fuel starvation was evident. Witnesses on the ground reported to authorities that they heard the engines rev up then go silent which is often indication of an engine running out of fuel. Analysis of pilot conversations with controllers reveal that both pilots voices remained calm prior to being caught off guard by the engine-out emergency that rapidly developed. The National Transportation Safety Board final report on the crash will reveal an actual cause for the accident when it is released about a year from now. Until that time when the report is released everything stated here is only speculation.
People have asked me to place my thoughts about the crash on my web site to assist them in better understanding how such a tragic event could occur so close to home. A plethora of remarks are being tossed about locally that are placing blame on the pilots, controllers, fuel operators, and more. Even the weather has been targeted for cause without thoroughly investigating factual data. I will publish updates here on my site as factual information is released by the NTSB throughout the year. It is my hope that the information provided here will assist others in forming their own opinion about this tragic event.
A Common Misconception
A common misconception being tossed locally is that bad weather brought down the airplane. It played a role in the pilot's inability to find the airport on the initial landing approach, however, pilots often fly without concern in more severe weather conditions. Weather did not cause the crash. The National Transportation Safety Board will focus on weather, fuel management, aircraft construction, engine, props, radios, navigation equipment, communications, pre-flight planning, pilot qualifications, and more in determining a cause.