LUDINGTON, Mich. (WANE) – The cause of a plane crash that killed an Angola couple is still unknown after a newly-released report from the National Transportation Safety Board called the takeoff “unremarkable”.
On the morning of Nov. 26, Randy Strebig and his wife Allison Wheaton, along with their two dogs, died in a plane crash in Ludington, Michigan.
According to the NTSB’s preliminary report, a flight plan filed beforehand showed the aircraft- a Socata TBM 700- was headed from Michigan’s Mason County Airport to the Tri-State Steuben County Airport in Angola.
According to the airport manager, he assisted the pilot and pilot rated passenger in removing the airplane from a hangar on the airfield about 945. The airport manager reported that about 10 to 15 minutes later, the pilot taxied the airplane onto runway 8 and began the take-off roll. The airport manager said that the take-off appeared to be unremarkable except that the left wing dipped after rotation and the airplane continued to climb in a left bank. He watched the airplane until it disappeared into the clouds.AVIATION INVESTIGATION PRELIMINARY REPORT FROM THE NATIONAL TRANSPORTATION SAFETY BOARD
A witness walking her dog about a half mile north of the airport saw a plane flying low overhead, according to the NTSB, and the plane was over the tree line with the left wing perpendicular to the ground. That’s when the airplane disappeared behind the trees, and the witness said she heard a loud crash.
Investigators determined the plane crashed into a grassy area covered in mud and snow, and it had traveled about 110 feet from the area it first crashed to where it came to a stop on its right side. A 10-foot tall barbed wire fence east of the main wreckage had torn and frayed wire, the report noted.
According to the report, the airport manager said it was snowing before and during the flight’s departure. Weather was not listed in the report as the cause of the crash.
An Aviation Routine Weather Report for the Mason County Airport said, “the weather at the time of the accident was ¾ mile visibility, 400 ft cloud ceiling, and snow.”
The NTSB report closed out by saying, “The airplane wreckage was retained for further examination.” The crash was labeled a Class 3 investigation, which the NTSB explained seeks to identify safety issues that reveal underlying cause(s) of the accident.
Strebig was the founder of Strebig Construction, Inc. and Wheaton was the executive director of the Summit Equestrian Center. Both were on various boards and involved with several organizations in other ways around the community. An outpouring of posts about the couple began to appear on social media in the days and weeks following the crash.
Source : WANE