SEVERE WX : Red Flag Warning - Air Quality Alert View Alerts

Final Accident Report Released in Fatal Brookings Plane Crash

46-year-old John Belnap and 17-year-old Max Belnap of Grants Pass, along with 17-year-old Ryan Merker died in the crash in July 2016.

Posted: Apr 29, 2018 4:41 PM
Updated: Apr 29, 2018 8:54 PM

BROOKINGS, Ore.- The plane took off from Brookings on July 4th, 2016, but never made it to Grants Pass. The probable cause for why the plane crashed was finalized in a report this April 2018.

According to the National Transportation Safety Board, the pilot left for the third leg of a cross-country flight in the airplane during dark and moonless night conditions.

The departure path was toward the ocean and over an area with few ground-based light sources to provide visual cues. The NTSB says in a report, "A witness heard an airplane flying nearby and assumed that it was taking off from the airport. As the airplane continued, he heard a reduction in engine power, like a pilot throttling back while landing."

According to the witness, the engine did not sputter. Review of the recorded radar data showed that the airplane turned left shortly after takeoff and climbed to about 700 ft above ground level as it passed near the witness's location.

The airplane did not arrive at its destination, and a search was initiated. The wreckage of the airplane was found in ocean waters about 2 miles west of the departure airport.

Although visual meteorological conditions prevailed, no natural horizon and few external visual references were available during the departure. This required the pilot to monitor the flight instruments to maintain awareness of the airplane's altitude.

The NTSB says, "Given the lack of external visual cues and the the pilot's lack of recent night flight experience and his lack of an instrument rating, it is likely that the pilot became spatially disorientated during the departing left turn."

The main wreckage was not recovered. So investigators could not determine whether any preimpact mechanical malfunctions or anomalies were present.

The National Transportation Safety Board determined the probable causes of this accident were as follows:
"The pilot's spatial disorientation and loss of situational awareness during the departure turn in dark night conditions, which resulted in an in-flight collision with water."

You can click here  to read the NTSB full report.

Oregon Coronavirus Cases

Data is updated nightly.

Cases: 224547

Reported Deaths: 2877
CountyCasesDeaths
Multnomah42425618
Washington28176259
Marion24842333
Clackamas20349243
Lane15401176
Jackson13240160
Deschutes1074187
Umatilla988394
Linn644882
Yamhill515882
Klamath498279
Douglas479594
Polk440457
Josephine438076
Malheur370967
Benton354822
Jefferson252842
Coos241040
Columbia213732
Union175924
Wasco160631
Lincoln159122
Crook144724
Hood River128934
Morrow125017
Clatsop123711
Baker116018
Curry86512
Tillamook7985
Grant5657
Lake4868
Harney46611
Wallowa2486
Gilliam881
Sherman872
Wheeler491
Unassigned00

California Coronavirus Cases

Data is updated nightly.

Cases: 4003787

Reported Deaths: 64620
CountyCasesDeaths
Los Angeles131165624721
Riverside3112424667
San Bernardino3095025265
San Diego3011003805
Orange2856205146
Santa Clara1245862183
Sacramento1178311790
Kern1143421428
Fresno1057321746
Alameda980131290
Ventura845891046
Contra Costa78084836
San Joaquin776151461
Stanislaus666191097
Tulare50731854
San Mateo45255588
Monterey44651528
San Francisco41758565
Solano36525261
Santa Barbara36106469
Sonoma33414331
Merced33321485
Imperial29333746
Placer25624307
Kings23790251
San Luis Obispo22356267
Madera17220249
Santa Cruz16779207
Yolo15149215
Marin15039243
Butte13523205
Shasta13179242
El Dorado11312121
Napa1055282
Sutter10343127
Yuba712950
San Benito632664
Tehama592766
Lassen590526
Nevada568575
Humboldt535154
Mendocino485652
Tuolumne469173
Lake440866
Amador395348
Siskiyou259640
Glenn248127
Colusa238118
Calaveras235658
Del Norte174710
Inyo148238
Mono13395
Plumas7926
Modoc5767
Mariposa5377
Trinity4696
Sierra1370
Alpine910
Unassigned810
Medford
Partly Cloudy
65° wxIcon
Hi: 84° Lo: 60°
Feels Like: 65°
Brookings
Mostly Cloudy
51° wxIcon
Hi: 75° Lo: 54°
Feels Like: 51°
Crater Lake
Partly Cloudy
65° wxIcon
Hi: 65° Lo: 50°
Feels Like: 65°
Grants Pass
Cloudy
65° wxIcon
Hi: 84° Lo: 63°
Feels Like: 65°
Klamath Falls
Partly Cloudy
51° wxIcon
Hi: 75° Lo: 55°
Feels Like: 51°
Very hot and smoky Wednesday
KDRV Radar
KDRV Fire Danger
KDRV Weather Cam

Community Events