Personal Injury

Government shutdown complicates aviation accident investigation

airplane propeller Government shutdown complicates aviation accident investigationAn investigation into a plane crash on the American River near Discovery Park in Sacramento, California, that injured two people, is hitting roadblocks because of the government shutdown.

When a plane crash occurs in a river, it would typically be handled by the Coast Guard. But Sacramento County’s Regional Parks Department is handling the investigation and evidence-gathering because, due to the shutdown, both the Coast Guard and the National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB), which investigates the cause of accidents, are unavailable.

“We do not frequently have plane crashes into the river, so it is outside the norm most definitely, Sacramento County Deputy Director of Parks Liz Bellas told the Sacramento Bee. “We wanted to make sure that we did our best to document the incident so we could forward the information to what would typically be a responding agency.”

The crash occurred Jan. 2, when an amphibious single-engine Progressive Aerodyne Inc., SeaRey aircraft was coming in for a water landing. One of the wheels of the plane failed to retract, causing the plane to tumble once it hit the water, according to Bellas. Both the pilot and a female passenger were transported to the hospital. The man suffered non-serious injuries and the woman was listed in critical condition.

Park rangers, firefighters, Drowning Accident Rescue Team (DART), county Emergency Services personnel and private contractors spent about three hours rescuing the plane and containing the oil that spilled into the water.

NTSB is accepting accident reports but the agency is limited in what it can do due to the shutdown.

Source: Sacramento Bee