Safety board releases findings on plane crash that killed ski coach
October 29, 2008
A recently released factual report by the National Transportation Safety Board on the July 2 airplane crash that took Clayton Beck’s life found no mechanical failures in the plane, heavy smoke in the Sierra Valley, but draws no conclusions.
The investigation included the Nevada County Sheriff’s Department, where the missing person report was filed, the Sierra County Sheriff’s Department, where the death occurred, and the safety board, which is investigating the crash, said Sheriff-Coroner John Evans with the Sierra County office.
“For our part, we determined the cause of death – massive multiple blunt-force trauma from crashing into the ground and trees – we determined the death as an accident,” Evans said.
According to safety board officials, it could take up to a year before a final report with the cause of the accident is released, but the factual report included observations on the conditions the day of the crash, on the mechanics of the aircraft, and on Beck’s condition.
The report states no mechanical failures have been pinpointed as the cause of the accident.
While the sky was clear at Truckee Tahoe Airport that day, wildfire smoke reduced visibility in the Sierra Valley to a quarter- or half-mile, according to the report.
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According to the report, toxicology tests performed by the Federal Aviation Administration Civil Aeromedical Institute turned up ethanol (alcohol) in Beck’s blood, organs and muscle, but notes that the chemical may have been a result of decomposition.
Clayton Beck, 37, was a fixture in the local skiing community and trained Olympians Johnny Mosely and Shannon Bahkre. He recently was a skiing coach at Alpine Meadows.
The report can be found at ntsb.gov.