Radio traffic in final minutes before plane crash

Published On: Dec 24 2013 07:33:27 PM EST   Updated On: Dec 10 2013 10:45:27 PM EST

Air traffic control recordings shed more light on the final minutes before a small plane crashed, killing a pilot his and two daughters as they were trying to land at Craig Airport.


Among the things the National Transportation Safety Board will examine to determine what caused Sunday night's plane crash that killed the pilot and his two daughter will be the communications between the pilot and the tower at Craig Airport, where the Cessna 310 was supposed to land.

Michael Huber, 60, and his two daughters -- 17-year-old Abigail and 20-year-old Tess -- died when the twin-engine plane crashed into a retention pond about a mile southeast of the airport.

Channel 4 obtained a recording of that radio traffic and could identify four exchanges between Huber and the tower between 6:10 and 6:19 p.m.

NTSB officials say the plane crashed about 6:26 p.m. on approach to Craig. The wreckage was found in a retention pond of a Sandalwood neighborhood.

The first radio call from the tower to Huber clears his plane -- identified by its tail number, N98BT -- to land on Runway 32.

Then the controller tells him about another plane, a Piper Cherokee, that came in about 30 minutes before. The tower then talks about a ceiling breaking up at between 300 to 200 feet, to which Huber responds, "Roger, thank you much."

LISTEN:  Radio calls between Craig tower, Michael Huber's plane
IMAGES:  Wreckage of plane pulled from pond

Huber communicates with the tower again three minutes later. It's hard to make out what is said, but you can hear Huber's response: "Ah, roger. Very good."

Then, at 6:15 p.m., Huber radioed the tower, possibly the last time.

"Hey, we're going to go around. We missed it," he said.

After that, the tower attempted to contact the plane four times: twice at 6:17, once at 6:18 and one last time at 6:19.

"They were apparently concerned as to why the plane disappeared from their radar screen," said Ed Booth, a lawyer who specializes in aviation issues. "They would have looked out to see if it on the runway not seeing it on the runway. The procedure would be to start calling on the radio frequency to see if the airplane will answer."

The Federal Aviation Administration has not confirmed this exchange of radio traffic, and said it will not while the investigation is ongoing. The agency says it will send its audio in a few months, when the final report on the crash is complete.


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