Heavy precipitation was observed near the site of the fatal plane crash that claimed the lives of well-known Santa Barbara couple Carl and Joelle Lindros earlier this month in Idaho, authorities said.
The Aug. 11 flight originated from Polson Airport in Montana at 9:30 a.m. and was en route to Sacramento. The Lindroses, both 83, were expected to arrive by 12:30 p.m., according to a preliminary report by the National Transportation and Safety Board.
The crash occurred a few miles northeast of Kooskia, Idaho.
A local resident was driving near the site of the crash about the time of the accident and told investigators the weather was “nasty,” with heavy rain and lightning.
“As he was driving, he remembered seeing a flash of light and an explosion from the accident site location and thought it was a lightning strike that struck a tree,” read the report.
In a follow-up conversation with investigators, the witness said he did not see the airplane prior to impacting terrain.
Another witness was fishing nearby and also reported heavy rain and lightning around the time of the crash.
“The witness remembers hearing an airplane’s engine revving up and down, as if it were straining,” the report states. “He concluded that he didn’t hear or see the airplane impact terrain.”
Weather radar imagery showed area precipitation moving northeast over the crash site around the time of the incident. Half-inch hail was also detected about 15 minutes prior to the crash.
“Heavy values of precipitation were detected well above 30,000 ft mean sea level (msl) during this period,” the report states.
Preliminary radar data shows that the single-engine Lancair aircraft departed around 9:50 a.m. Aug. 11.
At 10:19 a.m., about 26 miles from the crash site, the plane’s track turns south for about four minutes. About 16 miles from the crash site, the track turns toward the southwest.
At 10:26 a.m., the track indicates the airplane reached 13,250 feet before making a left turn followed by a rapidly descending left turn toward the crash site, according to the report.
Investigators from the Federal Aviation Administration and NTSB responded to the scene.
Carl Lindros is well-known locally, and had served on various education and philanthropic boards – including as the president of the Scholarship Foundation of Santa Barbara.
A celebration of life for the Lindroses will take place Oct. 19 at a location that has yet to be determined.