Investigators say pilot gave no indication of fuel problems

Posted: Wednesday, July 23, 2003

JUNEAU (AP) A Utah pilot whose plane crashed in Icy Strait gave no indication that he had fuel problems as he flew from Washington to Alaska, according to a National Transportation Safety Board investigation.

''There was no mention at all, all the way up the line,'' said Clint Johnson, who is leading the crash investigation for the NTSB.

Johnson said the pilot, Gary Ostler, first reported a critical fuel shortage just a few miles from the crash site and asked for direct clearance to Gustavus.

Six people were on board the twin-engine Cessna 401 that crashed near Gustavus on July 13. Two survivors swam about a mile across Icy Strait to a beach on Chichagof Island. The other four remain missing.

The pilot had made arrangements from Washington to have a fuel truck waiting in Ketchikan. But he did not stop for his fuel appointment or anything else on the way north.

Investigators are so far at a loss to explain what happened.

''We haven't got any indications of equipment problems to this date, yet,'' said Rich Hudgens of the Federal Aviation Administration office in Juneau.

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