The National Transportation Safety Board's probable cause report
for the October 2007 fatal downing of a University of North Dakota
plane is still month's away... but the evidence points to a likely
bird strike, according to a school official.
As ANN reported, the Piper
PA44 Seminole twin crashed in a marshy section of central Minnesota
on October 23. Lost in the accident were student Adam Ostapenko,
and instructor Annette Klosterman. The two were on a routine VFR
cross-country training flight from St. Paul, MN to Grand Forks, ND
when the aircraft went down.
UND Aerospace dean Bruce Smith told The Associated Press this
week a large dent on the aircraft's left wing, and another on the
empennage, suggest the aircraft collided with a sizable bird before
the accident. Goose remains were also found on the wreckage, Smith
The aircraft had been on flight following, but was out of radar
coverage when the accident took place. All communications with the
flight prior to the crash were routine, according to the NTSB
Preliminary Report, and no deviations in the airplane's flight path
were observed. The pilots also did not communicate any difficulties
or anomalies prior to the accident.
The Probable Cause report is expected later this year.