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Few details in preliminary report on fatal October airplane crash in Fairbanks

Colleen Mondor
Weather was likely not a factor in the crash that killed pilot Jon Tanner at Fairbanks International Airport on Oct. 17, where there were reported light winds and good visibility, according to an NTSB preliminary report on the accident. Loren Holmes photo

The National Transportation and Safety Board (NTSB) has released a preliminary report on the Oct. 17 accident that resulted in the death of the aircraft's pilot and owner, Jon Tanner. Two other passengers, Bruce Nahorney and a juvenile whose name was not released, were seriously injured in the crash at Fairbanks International Airport.

The Cessna 172 departed on Runway 20L from intersection "Romeo" shortly after 5 p.m. Air traffic controllers cleared the aircraft to turn left and proceed on course to its destination of North Pole shortly after takeoff. Controllers observed the aircraft initiate the left turn and then descend and impact terrain on the south side of the airport. It came to rest in a nose-low attitude about 1,585 feet from the departure end of the runway.

According to the report, the debris from the crash was within 50 feet of where the plane went down and all of the components have been recovered.

Weather was likely not a factor in this crash. Fairbanks International was reporting winds at 3 knots, visibility of 10 miles and few clouds at 7,500 feet with a broken layer at 10,000 feet.

A factual narrative and probable-cause report on the accident will be released sometime in the next year.

This was the second aircraft to crash and result in fatal injuries while departing one of Alaska's major airports in recent months. A crash at Anchorage's Merrill Field in August resulted in the deaths of the pilot Rob Lilly and his girlfriend Jessi Nelsen; that aircraft was also found in a nose-low position.

In total, 31 people have been killed in Alaska plane crashes thus far this year.

Contact Colleen Mondor at colleen(at)alaskadispatch.com