Federal Investigation Underway In Elko Plane Crash

Nov 23, 2016

An air ambulance plane crash that killed four people, including an Elko native, over the weekend in Northeastern Nevada is now under federal investigation.

Reno Public Radio’s Noah Glick reports.

The National Transportation Safety Board is investigating the cause of the wreck and is in its initial fact-finding phase.

Spokesman Eric Weiss says the agency is looking into many possible causes, including weather, pilot behavior and type of plane.

“Well, every accident is different," he says. "Now if we do see commonalities in a certain type of airplane or railroad or other vehicle, we have the ability to issue urgent recommendations.”

Mike Slack is a former engineer for NASA and aviation attorney based in Austin, Texas. He says federal records show that the plane involved in the accident had modified engines, giving it more power than when it was manufactured.

“That’s not unusual. Because these are older aircraft and circumstances where the aircraft are operating out of higher fields, higher elevations and flying in mountainous terrain, it would be desirable to have higher horsepower,” he says.

Slack says using this type of aircraft is recommended in high elevation, mountainous areas like Elko. He says it’s too early to tell if the modified engines could be responsible for the crash.

These types of investigations typically take a year to eighteen months to complete.