NTSB: Pilot likely caused mountain plane crash - FOX 13 News

NTSB: Pilot likely caused mountain plane crash

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Recovery crews work to gather the wreckage of a Beechcraft Bonanza shortly after it crashed in the Chattahoochee National Forest on May 30, 2011. Recovery crews work to gather the wreckage of a Beechcraft Bonanza shortly after it crashed in the Chattahoochee National Forest on May 30, 2011.

ELLIJAY, Ga. (AP) - Federal aviation investigators have determined that a pilot's actions are the probable cause of a crash that killed him and three passengers in the north Georgia mountains.

The Beechcraft Bonanza vanished in the Chattahoochee National Forest on May 30, 2011, while on a sightseeing flight during the 50th reunion of the Gilmer County High School Class of 1961.

Killed were pilot Phil Key of Pataskala, Ohio; and passengers Patricia Smith, of Ellijay; and a couple, Woody and Mattie Pierce of Ellijay.

The National Transportation Safety Board's investigation uncovered a past problem with the plane's altimeter, but said the pilot should have been able to see and avoid obstacles.

The NTSB said in its report that the pilot's failure to maintain adequate clearance from the mountainous terrain was the probable cause of the crash.

Copyright 2013 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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