The National Transportation Safety Board says a fatal September 2011 mid-air crash involving an Idaho couple was the result of pilot error.
According to the February 3 report, the board determined that pilots Scott Veal and Kristen Sprague, previously identified by Alaska State Troopers, were flying alongside one another when Veal’s Cessna 208 Caravan manuevered unannounced to come above Sprague’s Cessna T207A, causing her to lose sight of him. Sprague then says she saw “the descending Cessna 208B pass by the right side of her airplane, which was instantly followed by an impact with her airplane's right wing.”
Veal’s plane then “entered a steep, vertical, nose-down descent before colliding with the tundra-covered terrain below”, 400 miles west of Anchorage. After the initial crash, the small plane reportedly burst into flames, killing 24-year-old Veal.
An examination of both planes revealed impact points consistent with the reported events, and parts of Veal’s Cessna 208 were found embedded in the Cessna 207’s right wing, including the vertical stabilizer assembly.
The board’s final determination was that Veal had failed “to maintain adequate clearance while performing an unexpected and unannounced abrupt maneuver, resulting in a midair collision between the two airplanes.”
Sprague was able to land her aircraft safely nearby, just north of Nightmute.