Clifton Park An investigation into what led an ill-fated single-engine Beechcraft to crash into a residential area in Clifton Park on Wednesday, Aug. 15, has begun, but it will likely be months before a full report is produced.
“The most important reason why we’re out here, in addition to understanding what happened and why it happened, is if possible to make any recommendations to prevent future occurrences and similar accidents,” said Dennis Diaz, an air safety investigator with the National Traffic and Safety Board during a press conference at the Vischer Ferry Volunteer Fire Company on Thursday, Aug. 16.
Investigators did not reveal many new details at the conference. On board the plane were Walter F. Uccellini of Albany and Jim Quinn of Westerlo. The men were on a business trip and en route to Plattsburgh from Albany International Airport when it is believed they tried to make an emergency landing in the area of Van Vranken Road at approximately 7:30 a.m.
Uccellini, a prominent businessman and president of The UnitedGroup, was killed in the crash. Quinn, the company’s vice chairman, sustained a serious injury and was still in the hospital as of press time. No one on the ground was injured.
Diaz, who has been with the NTSB for nine years, said he could not speculate on the cause of the accident. Probable cause may be determined within the next year. It is believed an alternator was replaced on the aircraft the day before the crash.
NTSB crews arrived at the scene on the evening of the crash, commencing the “fact gathering” portion of the investigation.
“The purpose of (the fact gathering) is to gather perishable information, that information — once the site is disturbed, the wreckage is disturbed — that information doesn’t exist anymore,” said Diaz.
The day after the crash, a recovery phase was underway that included removal of the aircraft from the scene to a location in Connecticut, where NTSB investigators will pore over the wreckage. From there, investigators will use data to produce a report, a process that could take up to a year. A preliminary report should be available online at www.ntsb.govin the coming days, though.