Wing Separated before Mallard Crashed

 - January 11, 2007, 10:33 AM

The NTSB has begun recovering the wreckage of the Chalk’s Ocean Airways Turbo Mallard that crashed off the coast of Miami yesterday afternoon, killing all 18 passengers and two crewmembers. The 1947 Grumman G-73T had taken off from the airline’s Watson Island seaplane base shortly before 2:40 p.m. for a flight to Bimini in the Bahamas, when only seconds later it broke apart in an inferno and fell into Government Cut. Amateur video appeared to show the right wing breaking away from the fuselage. Recovery crews have now turned their attention to finding the airplane’s cockpit voice recorder while investigators pore over maintenance logs and operations records. The crash ended Chalk’s 86-year record of no fatal accidents involving passengers, although two Chalk’s pilots died when their Mallard crashed during takeoff near Key West, Fla., on March 18, 1994. The NTSB determined the cause of that accident to be an excessive aft c.g. because the crew failed to ensure that the aircraft’s bilges were pumped free of water.