NTSB: Unbalanced weight caused 2013 crash that killed 10

The National Transportation Safety Board has released the results of an investigation into a 2013 airplane crash in Soldotna that killed 10 people.

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The NTSB says too much unbalanced weight is the likely cause of the crash that brought down the DeHavilland DHC-3 Otter in July of 2013.

Forty-two-year old pilot Walter “Willy”Rediske of Nikiski and his passengers, Milton and Kimberly Antonakos and their three children and Dr. Chris and Stacey McManus and their two children, all of Greenville, South Carolina, died when the plane crashed shortly after takeoff.

The new report confirms the preliminary studies the agency conducted, that found the weight of the passengers and cargo wasn’t properly accounted for ahead of takeoff. A video retrieved from a smartphone found at the scene helped investigators patch together what happened. The center of gravity for the plane at takeoff was too far aft, or toward the rear of the plane. The end result was an aerodynamic stall, and the plane crashed 2,300 feet after takeoff.

Officially, the NTSB says the probable cause of the accident was due to the operator’s failure to determine the actual cargo weight. Additionally, the Federal Aviation Administration’s failure to require weight and balance documentation also contributed to the crash.

Shaylon Cochran is a host and reporter at KDLL in Kenai. He’s reported on fishing, energy, agriculture and local politics since coming to Alaska in 2011. He has worked at KDLL/KBBI on the Kenai Peninsula, where he picked up lots of new hobbies, like smoking salmon, raising chickens, skiing and counting RV’s. He holds a bachelors degree in Journalism from Iowa State University.

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