Panel Can’t Determine Cause of Senator Ted Stevens’ Fatal Plane Crash

by nph | May 25th, 2011

The Ted Stevens plane crash site near Dillingham, Alaska

The Ted Stevens plane crash site near Dillingham, Alaska

May 25, 2011

It’s still anyone’s guess what caused the plane crash that killed Alaskan Senator Ted Stevens and four others last summer, decided the National Transportation Safety Board during a meeting in Washington, D.C., on Tuesday.

The board determined that “temporary unresponsiveness” on the pilot’s part might be the reason he crashed the plane into a mountainside near Dillingham, Alaska. The board says that the plane’s terrain-awareness-and-warning-system was inhibited, giving the 62-year-old pilot only a few seconds to correct the problem.

The plane–a single-engine de Havilland DHC-3T Otter floatplane–didn’t contain any flight data or cockpit voice recorders. Only four of the nine people aboard the plane survived the August 9, 2010, crash.

“One of the greatest lessons from this tragedy is the powerful reinforcement of the need for onboard crash resistant recorder systems,” said NTSB Chair Deborah Hersman. “With onboard recorders, we can learn so much more from crashes like this one to prevent future tragedies and loss of life.”

The National Transportation Safety Board says the plane’s pilot was grounded for two years, from March 2006 to April 2008, after suffering an intracerebral hemorrhage.

“What we do not know, and can never know, is what happened in the last three minutes of that fatal flight,” said Hersman.

Ted Stevens was the longest-serving Republican senator in American history.

Read more.

What do you think caused Senator Ted Stevens’ aviation accident?

If you or someone you know has had their safety compromised on a commercial or private aircraft, contact the aviation accident lawyers at Nurenberg, Paris, Heller & McCarthy.

Image courtesy of NTSB