Mt. Hamilton Wreckage to be Moved to Sacto

The National Transportation Safety Board is leading an  investigation into a weekend airplane crash near San Jose that claimed the  lives of two licensed pilots.
The single-engine Champion Citabria, tail No. N5174X, departed  from Watsonville around 9:30 a.m. Saturday and was reported missing by the  occupants' family members and friends that evening, according to Federal  Aviation Administration spokesman Ian Gregor.

The plane was found on Mount Hamilton early Sunday morning by  search crews with the Santa Clara County Sheriff's Office, Gregor said.

The medical examiner's office today identified the victims as  David Hartley, 53, and John Bergsma III, 49, both of Wilton. Josh Cawthra,  investigator in charge for the NTSB, said both men were licensed pilots.

He said his team finished on-scene documentation of the wreckage  Sunday afternoon, but that they are still in the initial phases of the  investigation.

He did not release a preliminary cause of the crash, and said  investigators will consider weather, mechanics, possible medical issues, and  the history of both pilots on board.

Additionally, the wreckage will be relocated to a facility near  Sacramento where investigators can reexamine it in a controlled environment,  Cawthra said.

"Our number one mission is to see if there were any safety related  issues with the airplane, the engine or anything that could have  contributed," so that similar problems can be prevented in the future,  Cawthra said.

He said Hartley and Bergsma had been traveling from Watsonville to  a private landing strip in Wilton when the crash happened.

A preliminary report is expected to be complete by the end of the  week, Cawthra said.

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