Crews worked on Thursday to recover the bodies of three people who died when the glider they were traveling in crashed into a wooded area of Vermont's Sterling Mountain during what was supposed to be a 30-minute tour of the resort town of Stowe. and its surroundings.
While several agencies worked to remove the bodies from the mountain, an investigator from the National Transportation Safety Board arrived at Morrisville-Stowe Airport in Morrisville on Thursday to begin the process of determining what caused the accident.
The glider was being flown by Stowe Donald Post, a longtime pilot for Stowe Soaring.
Post, 70, died in the accident along with passengers, Frank Moroz III, 58, and his wife Suzanne Moroz, of Hamden, Connecticut.
The pilot was Stowe Donald Post, 70 years old. I was at the controls when the glider crashed
The other passengers were Frank Moroz III, 58, and his wife, Suzanne Moroz, 56, both from Hamden, Connecticut.
"It's a very dense and wooded area," said Vermont state police captain Robert Cushing at noon on Thursday in a parking lot in a remote section of Morristown. Crews were transported from the preparation area to the accident site to carry out the bodies.
Cushing said he is expected to take most of the day to retrieve the bodies, which will then be taken to the Vermont coroner's office for autopsy.
The glider took off around 11:30 a.m. Monday and was disconnected from his towing plane about 20 minutes later about 4,500 feet north of the airport.
The flight was supposed to last about 30 minutes and other customers expected later flights, said NTSB principal investigator Brian Rayner, who flew in from Washington to investigate the accident.
Recovery teams head to Vermont's Sterling Mountain forest on Thursday to help transport the bodies of three people killed in a glider crash
The Morrisville police were notified that the plane was missing around 2 p.m. A search plane discovered the remains at approximately 5:30 a few thousand feet from the top of Sterling Mountain. Ground teams arrived at the site around 9:30 p.m. Thursday and did not find survivors.
Rayner said that Post was an experienced commercial pilot.
The glider, identified in a tweet by the NTSB as a Schweizer SGS 2-32, did not carry electronics on board, Rayner said.
In some cases, operators carry portable navigation and communication devices, such as GPS units and cell phones.
The glider left the Morrisville-Stowe airport at noon on Wednesday. His remains were found Wednesday night in a wooded area of the mountain (file photo of Don Post)
"I understand that this pilot did not use any of those objects and he stayed very close, locally and in view of his base of operations," said Rayner.
He said he would look at everything that could have contributed to the crash, including the maintenance records of the aircraft, the pilot's physical condition and the weather.
He said it could take a year before the investigation into the cause of the accident is completed.
The people of Stowe Aviation refused on Thursday to talk about the mail or what might have happened.