NORTH COLLINS, N.Y. -- The National Transportation Safety Board’s initial report on the plane collision that killed three people in North Collins indicates both cockpits were destroyed, and damage to the aircrafts were “consistent with nose-down vertical descents.”
This is the first report by the NTSB looking into what went wrong on September 25, when a Cessna 120 and a Piper PA 28 made contact and crashed.
Paul Rosiek, 60, of Hamburg, and Richard Walker, 69, and Kathleen Walker, 69, both of Eden, all died in the crash. Rosiek was flying solo.
According to the report, radar data from the Piper showed that plane was about 3,500 feet in the air before it came down.
The NTSB also cites two witness reports, which describe Rosiek's plane departing first, because it was known to be a slower plane that required more time to reach its destination. The witnesses said Walker departed second, and they observed his plane climb into Rosiek's and "shear its tail off, followed by both airplanes descending rapidly to the ground."
The NTSB reports that Rosiek was a certified private pilot, with his most recent third-class medical certificate issued in October 2014. He had 786 hours of flying experience.
Walker, who flew the Piper was also a certified pilot, and his most recent third-class medical certificate was issued in June 2016. Walker had 793 hours of flying experience.
The following excerpt is the NTSB’s description of the wreckage found and damaged assessed:
“Initial examination revealed three wreckage sites. The main wreckages of the Cessna and Piper were located in fields near the second to last radar target and last radar target, respectively. The empennage of the Cessna and an approximate 4-foot section of Piper's left outboard wing were located in a cornfield about .3 mile west of the Cessna's main wreckage. The Cessna's empennage exhibited four propeller cuts through its left side. The Piper's left wing section exhibited black rubber transfer, consistent with contact from one of the Cessna's landing gear tires.
“Both main wreckages exhibited leading edge wing crushing along the entire span, consistent with nose-down vertical descents. Both cockpit sections were destroyed and only two readable instruments were recovered from the Cessna. No readable instruments were recovered from the Piper. Aileron control continuity was confirmed for the Cessna. Elevator and rudder control continuity were also confirmed from the Cessna's cockpit to the rear cabin area where the cables were separated and exhibited broomstraw features at the cable ends, consistent with overload. The Cessna's elevator trim tab was found in an approximately neutral position. Due to impact damage, control continuity could not be verified for the Piper.”
Weather recorded at the Chautauqua County Dunkirk Airport indicated it was a mild day, with clear skies and calm wind.
Chris O'Neil, Chief of Media Relations at NTSB, told 2 On Your Side Tuesday morning that this report does not indicate the cause of the crash at this time.
“As an agency, the preliminary report is our statement of facts as we know them at this time. It does not contain analysis and does not state probable cause," O'Neil said. "Analysis will happen over the next 12-18 months, depending on the life of this case. [We] caution people from drawing conclusions.”