Officials hoping to wrap on-site investigation of Fredericksburg plane crash Monday
The pieces of Cowden Ward Jr's vintage P-51D aircraft he called "Pecos Bill" are scattered across an apartment complex parking lot in Fredericksburg as NTSB investigators work to figure out what went horribly wrong.
The plane crashed Saturday afternoon while Ward was doing a flyover with 93-year-old veteran Vincent Losada from San Antonio. Losada was a World War II B-17 pilot, according to Ward's "Freedom Flyers" Facebook page.
As Satinka Stiles told Fox 7 Saturday night, her daughter was outside when it happened.
"She had tears in her eyes and she could hardly talk and she said 'mom a plane crashed outside,'" Stiles said. "He started dipping. And she said he dipped once right in front of them after she waved at him, she WAVED at him before he crashed and he dipped once and then 'bam,' hit the parking lot and it split into two."
"From what the 'witness marks' are telling us it impacted the ground nearly vertically," said NTSB investigator Ed Malinowski.
Malinowski said Sunday the crash scene was about 200 feet in diameter. He'll gather perishable evidence from the scene before taking the wreckage to a recovery location.
"The 3 main things we look at are the plane, the pilot and the weather that was occurring at the time," he said.
According to the "Pecos Bill Freedom Flyers" Facebook page, Ward honored hundreds of veterans over the years, World War II and Purple Heart recipients by providing flights free of charge.
The NTSB says they hope to issue a preliminary report in 10 days, possibly a little longer, because of the holiday. That will include some factual info but the definitive crash cause is about a year away.