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Ties close to home make NTSB turn to Canada for accident investigation

May 30, 2012

National Transportation Safety BoardA fatal airplane collision in Virginia on Monday involved an unusual combination of factors that has lead the National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) to call on its northern neighbors for assistance.

The mid-air collision of a Piper PA-28 and a Beechcraft BE-35 occurred about five miles from Warrenton-Fauquier Airport in Sumerduck, VA. Its pilot survived. The Piper PA-28 crash landed in a field and the BE-35 crashed in a wooded area. The two occupants of the second plane were fatally injured.

Following the accident, investigators learned that the PA-28 was registered to a Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) employee and the BE-35 was registered to an NTSB employee.

Because of that circumstance, NTSB Chairman Deborah A.P. Hersman, in consultation with FAA Acting Administrator Michael Huerta, requested that the Transportation Safety Board of Canada (TSB) conduct the investigation into the crash.

“This accident hits especially close to home, with the involvement of an NTSB employee,” said Chairman Deborah A. P. Hersman. "I'm grateful to TSB-Canada Chair Wendy Tadros for agreeing to conduct the investigation and the NTSB stands ready to support and assist them in any way we can."

NTSB investigator Paul Cox will serve as the NTSB’s Accredited Representative to the TSB investigation.