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Mon, Mar 28, 2005

Snow Storm Blamed in Light Aircraft Accident

Weather A Factor?

An amateur-built/experimental Challenger II crashed Saturday in Eastern Oregon killing two Spokane men. Ezra M. Ward, 71, and Keith G. Bird were killed in the crash just after 2 p.m. about 10 miles south of La Grande.

Captain Craig Ward of the Union County Sheriff's Office said the wreckage was found on a steep hillside according to media reports. Authorities don't know who was at the controls, as the men were both pilots and co-owned the aircraft (File Photo, right).

Witnesses reported that the two seat Ultralight Trainer, a 52-horsepower Challenger II, seemed to be having trouble in a snow squall and was either following the freeway or attempting to land on it.

Captain Ward said strong winds and heavy snow probably contributed to the crash.

FMI: www.ntsb.gov

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