ELLICOTT – A preliminary report from the National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) says that the pilot of a plane that crashed in November near the Chautauqua County-Jamestown Airport mentioned snow and turbulence just before the plane went down.
The report says that the pilot, Alan Fuller, did not report ice accumulation, which Fuller reportedly discussed as being a possibility prior to the accident flight.
The flight instructor then checked a commercial website and realized that the pilot was conducting the accident flight from BUY to JHW. He hoped that the pilot would divert and sent him a text message to that effect.
The flight instructor subsequently drove to the airport and listened to air traffic control communications as well as common traffic advisory frequency communication, adding that the weather was conducive to icing.
Radar contact was lost about 1.5 miles northeast of the airport and no further communications were received from the accident airplane.
A witness lived near the airport and reported that he was in a tree stand for hunting purposes. The witness could not see well due to wind and snow and did not initially hear the airplane. He then heard loud engine noise for 10 to 15 seconds, followed by silence.
The tree stand was located about 3/4 mile northeast of the wreckage. Later that evening, the witness was notified that there had been an airplane accident and he assisted first responders in their search for the airplane. The witness subsequently observed tops of trees severed where he heard the engine noise increase. The severed trees were located about 1/4 mile east of the wreckage.
Fuller, Valerie Holmes and Linda Edwards all died in the crash.