Local News

FAA, NTSB Look Into Fatal RDU Plane Crash; Pilot Identified

Posted May 17, 2004

— Authorities are searching for answers after a small plane crashed at

Raleigh-Durham International Airport

around 9:15 p.m. Sunday.

The body of the pilot, identified as Robert G. Snyder, 53, of Raleigh, was found once crews reached the single-engine plane.

Snyder, who owned a construction company as well as FCA Inc., a property-holding company, was the only person on board the single-engine aircraft headed to Raleigh from Wilmington. The plane was owned by FCA Inc.

Emergency workers combed the crash site early Monday and investigators from the FAA and NTSB were conducting their investigations.

Parking and terminal lights were back on 90 minutes after the crash, but rescue and emergency personnel still had not gotten to the plane because of the downed lines.

Workers from Carolina Power and Light helped to remove some of the lines and clear a path for the rescue crews to get to the plane.

The crash occurred when the plane, identified as a four- to six-seat

Beech Bonanza

, was coming in for a landing on a runway next to Terminal A. The plane never reached the runway, crashing into a bundle of power lines.

Pilot and aviation accident lawyer James Crouse said there may be an explanation.

"The first thing that comes to mind is obviously the plane was well below the glide path," he said. "Anytime you're flying that low that close to the airport -- things that come to mind are some sort of a power problem either engine trouble or some sort of a fuel problem."

Flight operations were halted for about half an hour, airport spokesperson Mindy Hamlin said.

"We briefly lost power right after the incident," Hamlin said. "Our terminals are on generators, they came back up very quickly. We did experience some delays because we did have to close both runways to make sure that all the lights were working correctly. We did briefly move all traffic to the Terminal C runway."

Hamlin said the airport resumed normal operations by midnight.

Sunday's crash is the latest in a string of plane emergencies in the area.

In March, a Navy F-18 Hornet crashed as it tried to take off from RDU International.. The plane ended up a few hundred yards from Terminal A where it burst into flames. The pilot ejected and was not injured.

Five days later, mechanical problems forced a pilot to land on Aviation Parkway.

Two weeks ago, a small plane headed for RDU crashed in a Cary apartment complex pond. The husband and wife on board were killed.

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