Icing, Overload Considered in Montana Crash Probe

By Newser Editors and Wire Services
Posted Mar 23, 2009 8:06 PM CDT
Icing, Overload Considered in Montana Crash Probe
Security tape is strung inside the Holy Cross Cemetery after a small, singe-engine plane crashed in an area just south of the Bert Mooney Airport in Butte, Mont. on Sunday, March 22, 2009.   (AP Photo/The Montana Standard, Walter Hinick)

Speculation over what caused the crash of a single-engine plane into a Montana cemetery shifted today to possible ice on the wings after it became less likely that overloading was to blame. While descending yesterday in preparation for landing at the Bert Mooney Airport in Butte, Mont., the turboprop plane passed through a layer of air that was conducive to icing because the temperatures were below freezing, a weather forecasting service said.

Safety experts said similar icing condition existed when a Continental Airlines twin-engine turboprop crashed into a home near Buffalo Niagara International Airport last month, killing 50. A possible engine stall created by ice, and the pilot's reaction to it, has been the focus of the Buffalo investigation. "It's Buffalo all over again, or it could be," said a former member of the National Transportation Safety Board.
(More plane crash stories.)

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