| Connell declared emergency before fatal crash 12/30/2008 @ 12:14 pm Filed by Larisa Alexandrovna and Muriel Kane |
Republican IT consultant Michael Connell, who was killed on December 19 when his Piper Saratoga crashed near the Akron-Canton Airport, had declared an emergency shortly before losing contact with air traffic control.
NTSB spokesperson Bridget Serchak told RAW STORY on Monday that she had spoken with Senior Air Safety Investigator Mitchell Gallo, the NTSB investigator on the case, and could confirm that "the pilot asked for assistance landing."
When reached by RAW STORY on Tuesday, Gallo, who had reviewed a tape of the full radio exchange, explained that the Connell had not elaborated when declaring the emergency. "He didn't describe the nature of it," Gallo stated, "but then following that ... I don't remember what the actual verbiage was ... you'd have to again refer to the actual report."
The NTSB report further cites an eyewitness who "was outside of his home when he first heard a 'loud' engine sound from a small aircraft. The sound was coming from the north and sounded as though the pilot was trying to accelerate 'rapidly.' Suddenly, the witness saw two bright lights coming almost nose first toward the ground with the engine 'roaring.' Based upon the witness’ view of the lights, he assumed the airplane was flying west to east. He lost sight of the airplane when it descended below a tree line."
The eyewitness, who wishes to remain anonymous, has spoken with Raw Story and provided a copy of the statement which he wrote up immediately following the crash. (See image below)
According to the witness's statement, when the plane vanished from his sight, "I was certain it was going to crash and was actually waiting for the sound. However, once again there was a tremendous roar of the engine and I thought it was just the pilot doing a stunt over their house. It was almost instantly after I once again heard the engine that I heard the thud as it hit the ground. Approximately 1 second later, the sky became orange and there was no doubt what had happened."
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