BYERS, Colo. (AP) After a snowy day walking through a mile of scattered wreckage, aviation investigators focused on whether a plane used by Oklahoma State had been de-iced before takeoff.
“We have some very detailed and painstaking work ahead of us in what are not the best weather conditions,” John Hammerschmidt, head of the National Transportation Safety Board crash investigation team, said Sunday.
Ten people, including two Oklahoma State basketball players and six staffers, were killed Saturday when the twin-engine plane crashed into a field. The plane had taken off from Jefferson County Airport in light snow and with a visibility of one mile.
The crew was told ice could form on the wings, but investigators said conditions were not harsh enough for authorities to ground the plane.
Federal investigators planned yesterday to interview the maintenance crews who worked on the plane before takeoff, those who spoke with the plane”s crew just before takeoff and the pilots of the two planes that arrived safely at Stillwater, Okla.
The Beechcraft King Air 200 Catpass was one of three planes carrying the school”s basketball team and associates back to Stillwater after a loss to Colorado at Boulder.
No distress call was made before the crash, said Arnold Scott of the NTSB.
Among the victims were Oklahoma State players Nate Fleming and Daniel Lawson, sports information employee Will Hancock, director of basketball operations Pat Noyes and their trainer Brian Luinstra.
The Big 12 Conference said the school”s game tonight at Texas Tech had been postponed indefinitely. Oklahoma State said its basketball schedule will be completed.
Coach Eddie Sutton had stayed in his office until after 1 a.m. Sunday, notifying family members and meeting with his grieving players.
Classes were held yesterday the school set a memorial service for tomorrow.
The plane was registered to North Bay Charter of Reno, Nev. The company declined to comment. The university said it was not a charter flight and the plane for the trip was provided by an Oklahoma City man.