I'm glad they closed the trails. But what miserable weather to conduct recovery operations in.
It seems that the plane crashed on Mt Si itself, not on Little Si. On the left is a graphic published in the Seattle Times. I superimposed the identified places on a Mt Si map. They clearly got the Mt Si trailhead location wrong -- probably from the trail shown there on the incorrect USGS topos. The location of the crash "star" agrees with other reports that it is at about the 2000' level, and not on Little Si itself. It also agrees with some brief wide shots from the news helicopters which did not look like Little Si, but there were too many clouds and no good distinguishing features visible. If it's really a little ways off the old Mt Si trail, then the Little TH is the best spot for the rescue operation base. But it's good to remember that many of these early reports are wildly inaccurate.
-------------- Mid Fork Rocks • flickr
NTSB Identification: WPR12FA105
14 CFR Part 91: General Aviation
Accident occurred Wednesday, February 15, 2012 in North Bend, WA
Aircraft: CESSNA 172S, registration: N665SP
Injuries: 3 Fatal.
This is preliminary information, subject to change, and may contain errors. Any errors in this report will be corrected when the final report has been completed.
On February 15, 2012, about 0154 Pacific standard time, a Cessna 172S, N665SP, cruised into the western face of Mount Si, about 1.75 miles east of North Bend, Washington. The airplane fragmented upon impacting trees and upsloping mountainous terrain, which resulted in substantial structural damage. The airplane’s registered owner, Christiansen Aviation, Inc., Wilmington, Delaware, leased the airplane to a fixed base flight school operator in Renton, Washington, called AcuWings. The commercial pilot held a certified flight instructor certificate. The pilot and two passengers were fatally injured. The flight was performed under the provisions of 14 Code of Federal Regulations Part 91. Visual meteorological conditions prevailed during the dark nighttime, personal sightseeing flight. No flight plan was filed. The flight originated from Renton Municipal Airport (RNT), about 0135.
A review of Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) recorded radar was performed for an aircraft having performance characteristics of a Cessna 172, that flew on a route from RNT to the accident site vicinity, and that disappeared about the time of the accident near the crash site. Only one target was found that met these criteria. The FAA’s recorded radar shows an aircraft on initial climb out from RNT. The aircraft climbed to 2,400 feet mean sea level (msl), as indicated by its altitude encoding transponder. Initially, the aircraft proceeded in a northeasterly direction. However, as the aircraft approached Snoqualmie Falls, it descended to 1,500 feet and proceeded on an east-southeasterly course. The last radar hit occurred at 0146, at which time the aircraft was about 1 mile southwest of the Falls, and about 1 mile north of Interstate Highway 90 (I-90). During the last minute of recorded flight, the aircraft’s ground speed decreased from about 112 to 106 knots.
The National Transportation Safety Board investigator received information from a witness who stated that about 0150 he was driving in an easterly direction on I-90. The witness holds a private pilot certificate. He reported having observed the anticollision and navigation lights from a low flying airplane that was cruising in a southeasterly direction an estimated 1 mile north of I-90. The witness stated that when I-90 turned southeasterly, he lost sight of the airplane for a couple of minutes. However, he regained visual contact with the airplane as he and the airplane approached North Bend. At that time, the airplane had altered its course and was heading in a northeasterly direction. The witness estimated that the airplane’s altitude was about 1,000 feet above ground level. (North Bend’s elevation is 400 to 500 feet msl.) The witness stated that the visibility was at least 3 miles. There was an overcast ceiling several thousand feet above the ground, with a few lower elevation clouds. Based upon the flight path drawing provided by the witness, the Safety Board investigator notes that when the witness lost visual contact with the airplane, it was flying toward the Mount Si area and was within 3 miles of the crash site.
Beginning about 0154, several persons located in North Bend telephoned 911 and reported having heard an impact sound. At least one witness reported having observed the lights of a low flying airplane and the sound of its engine suddenly stop following its 0153 low altitude easterly direction flight over the city toward Mount Si.
The Safety Board investigator’s on scene examination of the accident site and airplane wreckage revealed evidence of multiple broken tree trunks and felled branches on the mountainside in Mount Si’s Natural Resource Conservation Area. Fragmented airframe components, including both crushed wings, were noted below dozens of felled branches on an approximate 120-degree magnetic track leading to the fuselage, which was upside down. No evidence of preimpact oil leaks, fuel filter blockage, flight control anomalies, or fire was noted at the estimated 1,950-foot msl crash site.
Index for Feb2012 | Index of months
With a guess about the general vicinity and elevation of the crash from the news reports it was was pretty easy to stumble onto the flagging used to mark the way to the crash site. I wanted to know where it was for future reference. This is as close as I chose to walk, and the picture was with a telephoto. A crew was working on Saturday. All the white stuff is plane debris -- I was surprised how much is still there after all this time.
Unlike almost every other photo I post, the above is not geotagged.
What time were you there, puzzlr? Looks like that was taken from the exact place my buddy and I stopped yesterday. Got a little spooked by the fact that we had to cross crime scene tape and wasn't sure if it was law enforcement working down there or not.
The "crime scene" tape was a little freaky. But what went through my head was that the signs at the trail head still said the trails were closed so maybe this sign hadn't been cleaned up either. And because there was no "crime" here (AFAIK), it wasn't very credible. I would have a respected a sign saying "Please avoid this area while recovery operations are still under way. Thank you for your cooperation". I actually expected to find almost nothing -- broken tree branches and misc bits and pieces. It must be a lot of work to get that stuff out of there.
tigerman - you're right, but I'm torn between being very curious and being respectful of something, privacy? of who? I know I wouldn't touch anything that might affect the investigation, but others might not share that.
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