GUTHRIE CENTER, Iowa -- The National Transportation Safety Board has released a preliminary report on the airplane crash south of the Guthrie County Regional Airport that killed four Northwest Iowans Nov. 9.
The crash killed Samantha Clark, 15, Tyler Douvia, 28, Edward Anderson, 49, and Patrick Kellen, 36, who were headed to a hunting trip in Osceola, Iowa. All the victims were from Le Mars except Douvia, who lived in Merrill.
The 1979 Piper PA28 airplane had a 2 inch-long crack in its engine aft exhaust muffler, according to the report. The inner surface of the muffler's heat shroud was covered in gray and tan-colored sooty deposits, and similar deposits were found inside the cabin heat hose, which piped warm air into the cabin via a heat distributor box.
Autopsies performed on the victims by the Iowa State Medical Examiner's office found they all suffered elevated blood carbon monoxide levels.
The report said that the plane was co-owned by Kellen, who was a co-pilot. The pilot, Anderson, was not an owner of the aircraft.
Kellen attempted to take control of the plane after Anderson suffered what was described to air traffic controllers in Des Moines as a "heart attack." Kellen initially said he would attempt an emergency landing at the Perry Municipal Airport, but later told pilots in other nearby airplanes that he would try to land at Guthrie Center.
Thirty minutes later, the plane had not landed at either the Guthrie Center Airport or the Perry Municipal Airport, and a so-called Alert Notice was issued. The wrecked plane was found in a pasture the following morning.