NTSB still probing Caravan crash into Croatan Sound

 - July 24, 2007, 8:15 AM

The NTSB recently issued a factual report on the crash of a Cessna 208B Caravan in Manteo, N.C., on Christmas Day 2002. The ATP pilot was killed and Caravan N1122Y was substantially damaged when it crashed into Croatan Sound, near Manteo, at 1 a.m. in IMC. The aircraft was operated by Telford Aviation, as Telford Flight 1279, a Part 91 positioning flight.

On December 24, the pilot, who had worked for Telford since April 4, 2000, took off from Manteo at about 6:55 p.m., along with another pilot. They stopped in Edenton, N.C., to pick up packages, landing at Raleigh at about 8:36 p.m. The accident pilot flew by himself from Raleigh to Elizabeth City, arriving at about 12:10 a.m., and packages were unloaded.

At 12:22 a.m. Norfolk Approach issued him an IFR clearance to Manteo. He was told to fly runway heading and to climb to 3,000 feet. At 12:32 a.m. the controller advised the pilot that he had radar contact and two minutes later instructed him to contact Washington Center.

Everything Seemed Normal
Contacting Washington Center, the pilot said he was coming up on 3,000 feet. He requested the NDB approach to Runway 5 at Dare County Airport in Manteo. At 12:36 a.m., the controller told the pilot to fly a heading of 145 degrees for Manteo and fly direct to the NDB when he received the signal. When asked, the pilot responded that he did have the current weather at Manteo. At 12:43 a.m. the controller cleared the pilot for the approach and told him to maintain 2,000 feet until the flight crossed the beacon outbound; the pilot acknowledged. At 12:46 a.m. the controller informed the pilot that radar contact with the flight was lost and that he should report a cancellation or a downtime on his radio frequency. The pilot acknowledged the transmission.

At 12:57:21, the pilot reported procedure turn inbound. No further transmissions were received from the pilot, and controllers initiated search-and-rescue efforts. The wreckage of the airplane was located in the waters of Croatan Sound, about 1.5 miles west of the Dare County Airport and about one-quarter mile north of the approach course. The pilot was not located in the airplane. The engine controls were found in the full forward position for engine power, propeller and condition lever. The pilot’s door was found unlocked and open. The pilot’s seatbelt and shoulder harness were unbuckled.

The pilot’s body was found in the waters of Croatan Sound on Feb. 11, 2003. The cause of death was attributed to saltwater drowning.