The company that owns the medical transport plane that crashed in northern Nevada last week, killing all five people on board,…
The company that owns the medical transport plane that crashed in northern Nevada last week, killing all five people on board, has been linked to two other fatal crashes in the past four years.
A review of records shows that the latest crash killed 11 people on planes owned and operated by Guardian Flight. The Reno Gazette-Journal reported on Friday.
The company now also faces a fourth National Transportation Safety Board investigation starting in 2018, said Bruce Landsberg, NTSB vice chairman.
The single-engine Pilatus PC12 was en route from Reno to Salt Lake City on Feb. 24 when investigators say it broke apart. It crashed to the ground near rural Stagecox, 40 miles (64 kilometers) southeast of Reno. The dead included pilot Scott Walton, 46, and two medical crew members, Edward Pricola, 32, and Ryan Watson, 27. The patient was Mark Rand, 69 years old. He was accompanied by his wife, Terry Rand, 66.
Sara Sulick, a spokeswoman for the National Transportation Safety Board, said Thursday that a seven-person team sent to Nevada over the weekend to investigate the crash was completing its on-site investigation. She said the team recovered electronic navigation equipment from the plane at the crash site and sent it to the agency’s headquarters in Washington, D.C., for analysis.
A preliminary report outlining the agency’s initial findings will be released “in the next week or so,” Sulik said, and a final report outlining the cause of the crash is expected within the next two years.
The flight was a Care Flight which is a service of REMSA Health. Care Flight is provided by Guardian Flight. REMSA has stopped Care Flights for the time being.
Jena Esposito, KPS3 public affairs manager and spokeswoman for REMSA, declined to comment and deferred inquiries to Guardian Flight, which did not immediately respond to a request for comment.
Guardian Flight has over 60 aircraft flying from 60 locations including Hawaii and Alaska.
In December, a Hawaii Life Flight medical transport crew was on its way to pick up a patient when they crashed into the ocean off Maui. Investigators found the bodies of three crew members and the wreckage a month later. The reason is still being investigated.
In January 2019, a medical transport plane crashed near Juneau, Alaska. The pilot, nurse and paramedic who were driving after the patient were killed. The bodies of the crew have not yet been found. After nearly two years of investigation, the NTSB was unable to determine a cause.
The accident in Arizona in 2018 resulted in no deaths. Authorities say it was caused by autopilot error and overcorrection by the pilot.
An aviation attorney representing relatives of the Rands, who died in the Feb. 24 crash, told the AP the tragedy was “absolutely preventable.”
“It really starts with a decision to go in the first place that never should have been made,” said Dan Rose, a former Navy pilot who has spent 25 years litigating aviation.
Rose said he is looking forward to the NTSB’s preliminary report, which he hopes will provide more details about the overall conditions during the overnight crash, which occurred in the middle of a winter storm.
He declined to say what disease Mark Rand is suffering from. But it wasn’t “vital” and he had been dealing with it for months before the accident.
Associated Press writer Rio Yamat in Las Vegas contributed to this report.
Copyright © 2023 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, written or distributed.