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Preliminary report on Alaska crash

NTSB photo of the 1957 DeHavilland floatplane at the crash site.

Preliminary NTSB report on the crash (PDF)

Impact from the Alaska plane crash that killed former U.S. Sen. Ted Stevens and four others, including a Germantown man, Aug. 9 dislodged an emergency locator beacon from its mounting bracket, federal investigators said.

The antenna cable also was found separated from the beacon, according to a preliminary report released late Tuesday by the National Transportation Safety Board.

The report on the crash also said the plane left a corporate-owned lodge at around 2:30 p.m., and the wreckage was spotted on a remote southwest Alaska mountainside at about 8:05 p.m. It said the crash occurred at around 2:45 p.m.

Investigators had previously said they believed the plane left the lodge between 2 p.m. and 3 p.m., and that it was found sometime between 7 and 8 p.m., based on preliminary information.

Four Washington area residents were injured in the crash: lobbyist Jim Morhard, 54, of Arlington County; former NASA head Sean O'Keefe, 53; and O'Keefe's son, Kevin O'Keefe, both of Ashburn; and William "Willy" Phillips Jr., 13, of Germantown.

In addition to Stevens, 86, others who died in the crash include lobbyist William "Bill" Phillips Sr., 56, of Germantown, father of Willy Phillips; pilot Theron "Terry" Smith, 62; Dana Tindall, 48, an executive with the company that owned the plane; and Tindall's daughter, Corey Tindall, 16.

The NTSB report does not give a cause for the crash, and sheds no new light on weather conditions encountered by the pilot, who didn't file a flight plan and was relying on visual flight rules for what was supposed to have been a relatively short flight to a fishing camp.

Authorities have said that no transmitter signal was detected during an aerial search
But state medical examiner Dr. Katherine Raven has said the injuries sustained by those who perished were "severe and fatal," and that a quicker response from rescuers probably wouldn't have made a difference.

-- Associated Press and staff reports

By Michael Bolden  | August 25, 2010; 9:01 AM ET
Categories:  Aviation  
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