NTSB Launches Team To Investigate Crash Of Plane Carrying Governor Mel Carnahan



NTSB Launches Team To Investigate Crash
Of Plane Carrying Governor Mel Carnahan

On October 16, 2000, Governor Mel Carnahan of Missouri, his son Roger and top campaign aide were killed in a Cessna 335 twin engine aircraft to day. Both Mel and his son were licensed pilots. Roger who was acting as pilot in command informed air traffic controllers that he was having instrument troubles. Weather conditions were reported to be IFR conditions, heavy rain and fog. The governor had been expected at a campaign rally at 8 p.m. in New Madrid, about 150 miles south of St. Louis. 


Air Traffic Controllers were trying to help the governors son land the aircraft when it crashed about 30 miles south of St. Louis, the sources said. Both Carnahans and a were killed. At 7:20 p.m., Roger Carnahan said he was having trouble with the artificial horizon, which is used to judge whether the plane is  tilting. Two minutes later, he sought permission to turn to the west toward an airport in Jefferson City.

Six minutes later, at 7:28 p.m., Roger Carnahan told controllers he was still having trouble and was trying to switch to visual flight rules, which means he was trying to find a path clear enough to fly by sight. Air traffic control told him "to just keep heading west" to avoid fog and rain. The pilot said he was heading west, and then the tower lost radar contact with the plane at 7:33. 

Capt. Ed Kemp of the Jefferson County Sheriff's department reported that wreckage from the crashed twin engine Cessna was "in very small pieces because it's a heavily wooded and rocky terrain and it's spread over a large area."


October 17, 2000, The National Transportation Safety Board spokeswoman, Carol Carmody reported the aircraft wreckage was scattered across rough terrain. The three bodies were located however identification of the remains have not been made.

Governor Carnahan was running for the U.S. Senate race, who was locked in a very close U.S. Senate race with Senator John Ashcroft. Carnahan had served as governor since 1993. Governor Carnahan had planned to be present at the presidential debate with Vice President Al Gore and Texas Governor George Bush. The National Transportation Safety Board has launched a team of investigators to Missouri to begin its inquiry into the crash of a twin engine aircraft with three persons aboard, reportedly including the Governor of Missouri, Mel Carnahan.


 Five investigators have been sent to Jefferson County, Missouri to investigate the Monday evening crash.  Pam Sullivan, Senior Air Safety Investigator in the NTSB’s North Central Regional Office, has been designated Investigator-in-Charge. Carol Carmody will accompany the team and serve as principal spokesperson for the on-scene investigation.

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