UPDATED: Cessna Crashes at Nashville Overnight and Goes Unnoticed Until Morning

  • Oct 29, 2013 5:05pm GMT

Update Oct 30 @ 11:03am PDT

The Windsor Flying Club in Windsor, ON, confirmed to All Things Aero that the Cessna involved left Windsor at 8:39p en route to Pelee Island, ON. The Club declined to comment further citing an ongoing investigation with American officials.

Update Oct 30 @ 10:10am PDT

NTSB Air Safety Investigator Jay Neylon held a press conference at the Nashville Airport this morning to confirm the basic facts outlined below and stressed that the NTSB is in the "extremely early" phase of their accident investigation.

Mr. Neylon confirmed the weather was "extremely dense" fog at the Nashville Airport and said a runway sweep by Airport Operations occurred at 2:00am and the accident debris was first reported by another aircrew at 8:45am.

In an interesting nugget of information, Mr. Neylon stated the aircraft was destined for Pelee Island, Canada - located 35 nautical miles southeast of Windsor in Lake Erie. He did not offer a point of departure or information whether an IFR or VFR flight plan was filed, begging the question of whether the flight was intended to go from Windsor to Pelee Island or if the pilot had landed in the United States initially and was returning to Canada.

Nashville is 385 nautical miles from Pelee Island.

Upate Oct 29 @ 6:20pm PDT

The accident aircraft is a Cessna 172R with Canadian registration C-GRJH. The aircraft is operated by the Windsor Flying Club located in Windsor, Ontario, Canada (picture below - photo courtesy of the Windsor Flying Club website).

Original Story

From CNN - Authorities struggled to explain how a small plane crashed at an international airport, erupted in fire, but evidently went unnoticed for hours.

The incident occurred early Tuesday in Nashville, but exactly what time remains a mystery.

The single-engine Cessna evidently crashed sometime after 3 a.m. local time, according to the National Transportation Safety Board.

But it wasn't noticed until well after sunrise when another plane, taxiing for take-off, saw an engine cover on the edge of runway 2C -- the middle of three parallel runways.

Controllers contacted airport personnel, who found the fire-scarred wreckage. The plane's sole occupant was dead, officials said.

The airport's control tower is staffed 24 hours a day, the Federal Aviation Administration told CNN. But it was not immediately clear how many controllers were in the tower during the overnight shift.

An FAA spokesman said there was low visibility overnight and fog. Another FAA spokesman said it was not known whether the plane had been in contact with controllers, or if it had made a distress call.

The agency declined to answer questions, saying the matter was under investigation. Airport officials released scant information about the crash.