The two men killed in a plane crash April 18 about a mile from the Brookings airport have been identified as pilot 71-year-old James Penticoff of Crescent City and 62-year-old Charles Kresa of Smith River.
Officials from the National Transportation Safety Board (NTBS) and Federal Aviation Administration arrived Saturday to investigate the wreckage in a ravine off Henderson Road.
On Monday, Croman Aircraft of Medford arrived with a helicopter to lift the wreckage from the area. The cause of the crash is unknown and will likely take about nine months to a year to determine, NTSB senior crash investigator Tom Little said.
The incident occurred at about 4:15 p.m. last Thursday when the sheriff’s office received a call from the Brookings Police Department, which had received a few phone calls about a possible airplane crash.
A resident on La Moss Road reported hearing a boom and others reportedly saw a plane in the are behaving abnormally.
The 2007 VANS RV8A, an “amateur-built,” fixed-wing, single-engine craft based out of Grants Pass, is believed to have nosedived into a gully northeast of Brookings. It is not yet known at what altitude it was flying.
“The airplane was sitting upright, nose down and flopped back on its tail on a 20- to 30-degree incline,” Little said Monday. “The airplane was basically intact.”
The removal crew were hoping to take the plane in one piece, then trailer it to Dallas, Oregon, where the investigation will begin, Little said.
“They’ll lay it out, go through the engine and the airframe and look at everything,” he said. “We’ll see if we can find any silver bullet, any smoking gun, anything like that.”
The impact, which likely killed both men instantly, did not start a fire, which may or may not lead investigators to conclude the craft had run out of fuel.
Crews on the ground, including those from fire, law enforcement and search and rescue, combed the forest service and private roads in the area Thursday until one of the two helicopters in the air spotted the wreckage.
Both Penticoff, the owner of the plane, and Kresa were found deceased and carried from the area, Sheriff John Ward reported.