Over a year and a half after an air ambulance plane broke up in the air northwest of Mandan, federal investigators are still working out what caused the crash to happen.
The National Transportation Safety Board released a factual report on the aviation accident that killed pilot Todd Lasky, NICU nurse Bonnie Cook, and flight paramedic Chris Iverson on the night of November 18th, 2018.
The report ruled out some equipment-related explanations for the crash. “An examination of the left and right engines showed no mechanical malfunctions or failure that would have prevented normal operation of either engine,” the report reads.
“No evidence of failure or malfunction of the propellers was found,” it continues.
However, pilot Todd Lasky did report concerns about the plane’s autopilot “jerking” on a flight from Minot to Denver in November of 2018, according to text messages retrieved from his cell phone by investigators.
The NTSB’s factual report is not the board’s final report on the crash, and does not draw any conclusions about what caused it to happen. A spokesperson for the NTSB says the final report may take months to be released.
The report says about nine minutes after the plane took off from Bismarck toward Williston, it rapidly lost altitude and made a steep turn before radar contact was lost. No distress calls were made from the plane before it crashed.