A flight instructor and his student were killed Sunday morning while on a practice flight off Cape Cod, Massachusetts. Pilot Oulton Hues, 72, of Edgartown, Martha’s Vineyard, and Robert Walker, 68, of Falmouth, Mass., were taking a 20-minute flight from Martha’s Vineyard to Hyannis airport, where they practiced simulating the holding pattern there as airplanes that are unable to land immediately would do.
Around 10 a.m., Mr. Hues radioed air traffic controllers to say that smoke was filling the cabin of the 50-year-old, four-seat Piper Comanche aircraft. Shortly afterward, he radioed again to report that the smoke had cleared and said he was going to continue with the exercise. There were no further transmissions from the airplane after that, according to the Federal Aviation Administration. Data showed the plane’s last verified position was about 10 miles northeast of Hyannis and a mile off the coast, flying at an altitude of about 2,000 feet.
According to the Cape Cod Times, one body was recovered after it washed up on the beach in Brewster and the other was pulled from the ocean by the U.S. Coast Guard. Emergency responders spent much of the day Sunday searching area beaches for personal items, plane parts, and other pieces of wreckage as they rolled in with the tide. Authorities believe that the majority of the airplane remains underwater, but the exact location of the crash isn’t known.
Weather conditions on the ground Sunday were bitterly cold with snowfall, a “very limited visibility,” and a “whipping wind,” the Cape Cod Times reported. However, it is not known if these adverse conditions contributed to the crash in any way.
Sean Flynn, manager of the Martha’s Vineyard airport, told the Cape Cod Times that Mr. Walker already had his pilot’s license but was training for advanced certification under Mr. Hues.
The Federal Aviation Administration and the National Transportation Safety Board have started a preliminary investigation.