Federal investigators looked over the wreckage of a Grumman Goose airplane that crashed Tuesday at the Lost Trail Ski Area.
Perry Backus , Ravalli Republic via Associated Press
Burnsville pilot killed in Montana crash
- Article by: Associated Press
- June 19, 2014 - 8:42 PM
SULA, Mont. – An airplane that crashed near a western Montana ski area, killing its Minnesota pilot, was an antique that was being flown to Montana from Florida, Ravalli County officials said.
The twin-engine Grumman G-21 Goose amphibious plane had been flown from Florida to Minnesota before Michael Blume, 62, of Burnsville took over to bring it to Hamilton, Mont., Undersheriff Steve Holton said.
The plane crashed and caught fire Tuesday afternoon in the parking lot of the Lost Trail ski area lodge near the Montana-Idaho border. Blume was the only person aboard, Holton said.
Aaron Hoffman of Salmon, Idaho, was in his car and just getting ready to pull out of the parking lot Tuesday afternoon when the plane crashed about 50 feet away.
“It fell out of the sky right next to his car,” witness Scott Grasser said Wednesday.
Hoffman was the last of about 60 people to leave a workshop held by the Idaho governor’s Office of Energy Resources and the Sustainable Northwest nonprofit group, Grasser said.
“I believe there were cars parked right in the spot where the plane crashed,” said Grasser, who had just wrapped up a wood biomass workshop at the lodge. “People had only left 15 minutes to a half-hour earlier. We were just very fortunate.”
National Transportation Safety Board investigator Larry Lewis said the airplane appeared to have come straight down and that there was no evidence the pilot had tried to land in the parking lot.
“The aircraft wasn’t in landing configuration,” Lewis said.
NTSB investigators will talk to witnesses, look at maintenance records and interview people at airports the pilot used to search for clues to the cause of the crash, Lewis said, adding that the plane was a vintage aircraft, probably built in the late 1930s or early 1940s.
The plane had made stops in Dillon, Mont., and Salmon, Idaho, before the crash, Holton said.
The crash report could take six months to a year to complete, Lewis said.
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