At this point, it appears whatever brought down a single engine airplane July 17 near Fort Rice wasn’t mechanical.
That’s the assessment so far in a preliminary report issued by the National Transportation Safety Board looking into the cause of the crash in the Missouri River that killed Pennsylvania pilot Daniel Miller.
“During the examination, no pre-impact mechanical malfunctions or failures with the airplane were noted,” the NTSB notes in the report. “An examination of the maintenance records revealed no evidence of uncorrected mechanical discrepancies with the airplane.”
The report states the purpose of the flight was for the pilot to conduct aerial photography of farms and ranches in Morton County. The pilot would shoot photos through the open left window while referencing a kneeboard-based county map of the target areas.
According to the NTSB, the plane took off around 1:30 p.m., July 17. It went down a little over a hour later.
The NTSB is also examining items recovered from the plane: A Canon EOS 6D digital camera, a Garmin Aera 660 global positioning system unit, an Apple iPhone cellular phone and an Apple iPad tablet computer.
The investigation is continuing. A final report is expected later this year.
You can read the full preliminary report here.