Midair Breakup Suspected In Cargo Crash

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image: TSB

A twin-engine Swearingen Merlin III that crashed last week in the mountains near Vancouver may have broken up in flight, officials have said. The aircraft, which was carrying cargo, was flown by a two-pilot crew. “The radar track showed a very steep descent,” Bill Yearwood, an investigator with Canada’s Transportation Safety Board, told reporters last week.”The crew did not call, declare an emergency or have any stress, which gives us an idea that whatever happened, happened suddenly. The radar track gives us information on how fast it was descending … and that is consistent with uncontrolled flight.” Both pilots died in the crash. The flight was operated by Carson Air.

Shortly after departure from Vancouver International Airport, the aircraft dropped from an altitude of about 8,000 feet and hit the ground at about 3,000 feet less than 20 seconds later. “This with the wreckage dispersal and the lack of terrain damage is consistent with an in-flight break-up,” the TSB said. Rescue crews found aircraft wreckage in steep and heavily wooded terrain before nightfall on the day of the crash, the TSB said, about 15 nm from the airport. More wreckage, including the cockpit, was found the next day.

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