Update -- We now know the identities of the two passengers killed in Tuesday's deadly plane crash in Butte County. According to his hometown paper, The Danville Express, 26-year-old surveyor Matt Moody was the passenger in the plane that crashed in the canton just south of Neal Road late Tuesday morning. 55-year-old Fred Lewis of Vacaville was the pilot of the single-engine, two-seat aircraft. The pair were contracted by PG&E to survey natural gas pipelines when the plane went down. The wreckage was so badly burned the plane was too hot to move or even get close to for several hours after the crash. The NTSB removed the wreckage Wednesday. It is now being analyzed along with the aircraft maintenance.
The National Transportation Safety Board began examining the debris from the plane crash which killed two individuals and sparked a vegetation fire south of Paradise Tuesday morning.
Andrew Swick, the lead investigator in the case for the NTSB’s Pacific Division told Action News Now the wreckage was transported yesterday from the site in Hamlin Canyon to a secure location in Pleasant Grove.
Swick stated he and other investigators conducted a wreckage layout today of the debris in search for any anomalies. An expert from Lycoming Engines was also brought in to examine engine pieces. Results of the initial examination were not available because the investigation is ongoing, But Swick stated he plans to further examine the pilot’s flight record as well as the history of the plane’s maintenance.
The plane was registered to a Fred Lewis, an agricultural pilot with AA Arerials in Vacaville, but an official source has yet to confirm the identities of the two passengers until a DNA test is completed. Frontline Energy Services, the company which the other passenger worked for and was contracted through PG&E, was unwilling to release the name of their employee who was killed at this time.
Just after 11:30 a.m. Tuesday the 1966 Champion 7GCAA, a single engine fixed-wing aircraft contracted by PG&E was conducting an air patrol over a natural gas pipeline when for unknown reasons the plane crashed and exploded in the canyon. The crash killed both passengers and sparked a 21-acre vegetation fire.