courtesy Grand Teton National Park

Initial Findings from Fatal Plane Crash in Grand Teton Released

Initial findings from the National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) show the pilot of an experimental aircraft told the Jackson Hole Airport control tower they were having a problem before crashing on Wednesday, killing the Russell and Carol Kamtz of Loveland, Colo.

NTSB Air Safety Investigator Zoë Keliher says the Kamtzes had flownt the RV7 aircraft from Montana to the Jackson Hole Airport where they refueled and then took off about 15 minutes later. Keliher reports that they climbed to about 400 feet before contacting the control tower to say they were returning to the airport.

According to eyewitnesses, one of the aircraft’s wings dipped as it was turning to the west. Witnesses also reported that the nose of the plane dove toward the ground and descended in a near vertical position before impact.

RV7 aircraft are generally homebuilt from a kit, but Keliher has not yet determined whether the Kamtzes assembled the two-seat, single engine, experimental plane.

Keliher and two assistants are working to gather evidence from the crash site and wreckage. The team is reassembling the RV7 aircraft. Although some witness accounts were already taken, Keliher requests that anyone with information about the crash, please contact her at (208)352-0235.