National Transportation Safety Board
Office of Public Affairs
Washington DC - On Monday October 16, 2000, at approximately 7:33 p.m. (CDT) a Cessna 335, N8354N, carrying Missouri Governor Mel Carnahan, his aide and piloted by his son, crashed 10 miles northwest of Hillsboro, Missouri. All three persons on the aircraft were killed. The National Transportation Safety Board sent a team of 6 investigators and Board Member Carol Carmody. Five investigative groups were organized, including Structures, Systems, Weather, Operations, and Air Traffic Control. Parties to the investigation include the Federal Aviation Administration, Cessna Aircraft Company, National Air Traffic Controllers Association, Teledyne Continental Motors, the Missouri State Highway Patrol, and the Jefferson County Sheriff's Department. The Federal Bureau of Investigation's St. Louis Evidence Response Team also assisted in documenting and collecting the wreckage.
This advisory contains an update of the factual information developed by the investigation. No analysis of cause will be determined or discussed until the release of the Board's final report in 12 to 14 months.
The Structures group documented and mapped the wreckage at the crash site. Once the mapping was completed, the wreckage was removed and transported to the National Guard Armory in Festus, Missouri. Based on the wreckage recovered, the Structures group finds no evidence of an in-flight break-up. At the armory, the group completed a 2-dimensional reconstruction of the aircraft. A grid was taped to the Armory floor and as pieces of the wreckage were documented and identified they were placed within the grid according to their appropriate position on the aircraft. The left and right engines were examined. Initial examination of impact signatures on the propellers indicates that the engines were producing power on impact.
The Systems group was formed to examine the aircraft's wiring, cables, hydraulics, and cockpit instruments. No intact instruments were located in the wreckage. On Saturday, October 21, the group sent the right engine vacuum pump and pieces of the left engine vacuum pump to the Board's laboratory in Washington, D.C. for further testing.
The Systems group has also secured maintenance records and work orders for the accident aircraft. The group will continue to review the records to accurately outline the maintenance work that was completed.
As a standard procedure, fuel samples were taken from the Fixed Base Operator (FBO), Midcoast Aviation, where the aircraft had last been fueled. One sample was tested by its supplier, Phillips 66. Additional samples taken under the supervision of an FAA inspector was tested by the Missouri State Crime Lab. All samples tested clean with no contaminants.
The pilot's log book has been located and will be sent to the Operations group. The group will review the information to determine how many hours the pilot had logged on the accident aircraft as well as any information on hours the pilot flew under instrument flight rules.
Copies of the air traffic control tape and a preliminary transcript have been provided to the Safety Board by the FAA. Information from the preliminary transcript indicates that the pilot reported a problem with the attitude indicator and was seeking clearance to head toward better weather. The tapes have been sent to the Board's laboratory in Washington for review. Recorded radar data has also been provided and the Safety Board's aircraft performance engineers are reviewing the information.
Additional factual updates will be provided as information is developed and a complete factual report will be available on the Board's website, www.ntsb.gov, in approximately 6 months.
NTSB Office of Public Affairs: (202) 314-6100
The National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) is an independent federal agency charged with determining the probable cause
of transportation accidents, promoting transportation safety, and assisting victims of transportation accidents and their families.