August 12, 2008

Interstate crash kills Bullhead City pilot

Experimental aircraft collides with vehicle

Staff and wire reports
Mohave Valley News

CRASH AFTERMATH: A CHP officer inspects the wreckage of a small experimental aircraft that crashed on I-40 near U.S. 95 Tuesday morning.

NEEDLES - A 68-year-old Bullhead City pilot of an experimental aircraft was killed instantly when the plane and a vehicle collided near Interstate 40 and U.S. Highway 95 Tuesday, according to the California Highway Patrol.

The Associated Press reported that the pilot, whose identity is being withheld pending notification of next of kin, was flying low off I-40 where he had made an emergency landing when the westbound vehicle slammed into the plane.

However, the CHP press release contained no information about an emergency landing.

That report states that at 8:05 a.m., the “pilot was flying his aircraft very low, just above motor vehicle traffic. As the pilot approached Interstate 40, he made an easterly turn flying just above the westbound traffic lanes.”

Then, according to the press release, for an unknown reason, the pilot flew his Titan Tornado even lower and into the path of a Ford Fusion, driven by Jessia Erin Buckley, 26, of Riverside, Calif.

The aircraft collided head-on with the Ford, according to the press release and the pilot was pronounced dead at the scene by emergency personnel.

The motor vehicle driver reportedly sustained minor injuries to her right arm, but refused medical treatment.

According to the CHP press release, traffic on westbound Interstate 40 was closed for several hours and traffic was being diverted around the crash site via the U.S. 95 offramp.

Witnesses told the Federal Aviation Administration that the plane was taking off and was about three feet off the ground when the car slammed into it, spokesman Ian Gregor said.

The FAA and the National Transportation Safety Board are investigating the incident, he said.