NTSB to release information about OSU plane crash next week

Saturday, August 4th 2001, 12:00 am
By: News On 6

TULSA, Okla. (AP) _ The National Transportation Safety Board plans to release information August 7th about the plane crash that killed 10 people associated with the Oklahoma State University men's basketball program, officials announced Friday.

The reports due out on Tuesday will contain facts about the accident but won't include an analysis of the crash or state a cause, the NTSB said in a news release. Reports indicating what caused the crash will be released later, the agency said.

Ten men, including two OSU reserve players, were killed in the Jan. 27 crash. The plane left the Jefferson County Airport near Denver and crashed in a field near Byers, Colo., about 35 minutes later. The men were returning to Stillwater from a game between Oklahoma State and Colorado.

The NTSB documents will include reports on operations and human performance; air traffic control; meteorology; structures; power plants; aircraft systems and maintenance records.

A source close to the investigation has told the Tulsa World that an electrical failure on the Beechcraft King Air 200 is the likely cause of the crash. The source said the plane's altimeter, which tells how high the plane is flying, was stuck at 23,220 feet.

Because the altimeter on a Beechcraft King Air 200 is electrically powered, the fact that it became stuck at that altitude indicates an electrical failure, the source said.

The plane was flying in the clouds at the time, according to meteorological data, and a power loss would have forced the pilot to rely on manual instruments.

An electrical failure could have been caused by a mechanical problem, pilot error or an external source such as a lightning strike. The source said meteorological data seemed to rule out a lightning strike.

OSU reserve players Daniel Lawson and Nate Fleming; radio play-by-play host Bill Teegins; OSU media relations coordinator Will Hancock; student assistant Jared Weiberg; director of basketball operations Pat Noyes; athletic trainer Brian Luinstra; radio producer Kendall Durfey and pilots Denver Mills and Bjorn Fahlstrom all died.

Four victims' families have reached settlements with United States Aviation Underwriters Inc., the company that insured the plane. Sources said the families of Hancock, Weiberg, Mills, Fahlstrom, Fleming and Lawson have not settled with the insurance company.