LANSING, WV (WVNS) — Monday, Sept. 267, 2021, 5:10 p.m. UPDATE: An investigation was launched by the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) after a fatal plane crash in Fayette County.
Nick Fletcher, Michael Taphouse and Wesley Farley all died in the accident that happened on Sunday. Fletcher was piloting the single-engine Beech C23, a plane he co-owned. Family members told our sister station, WAVY, he was an experienced pilot and had flown the plane several times. Federal records show he had flown the plane round-trip to Richmond just a week earlier. Fletcher was the brother-in-law of Taphouse, who also died in the crash.
Two FAA inspectors were on the crash site Monday. Others are investigating off sight in Texas. Experts from the airframe manufacturer, including the engine manufacturer, will be assisting on scene.
Brian Rayner, an Air Safety Investigator, said the investigation will look into all the connecting pieces, including the plane and the environment that played into the accident.
“We will do our very best, and I will do have the best in the world assisting me. I’m confident, there are no guarantees, but I’m confident we’ll be able to explain this tragedy to those affected by it,” Rayner said.
Rayner said the investigation could take up to a year if nothing unusual is found.
The victims were reportedly on a whitewater rafting trip in the Upper Gauley River. A family member said Fletcher was concerned in a phone call over the weekend about clearing the trees on takeoff at New River Gorge Airport. A witness said he saw the plane taxi several times, take off and then disappear into thick woods not far from the airport.
LANSING, WV (WVNS) — Sunday, Sept. 26, 2021, 7:05 p.m. UPDATE: Three people are dead after a plane crash in the Lansing area of Fayette County.
According to the West Virginia State Police, the crash happened just after 10 a.m. on Sunday. Upon arriving on the scene, officers located the wreck behind a barn on Opossum Creek Road. They found three dead men inside of the plane.
The three men are identified as Nick Fletcher, 38, Michael Taphouse, 36, and Wesley Farley, 39. All three are from the Chesapeake, Virginia area, and were on a rafting trip in the Upper Gauley River. According to our sister station WAVY, a family member of Fletcher said he was an experienced pilot, and had called concerned about making it over the trees days prior.
The Federal Aviation Administration and the National Transportation Safety Board have taken control of the investigation.
ORIGINAL STORY: Sept. 26, 2021 3:45 p.m. First responders are on the scene of a plane crash in the Lansing area of Fayette County.
According to dispatchers, the area is secured and blocked off. They said first responders are currently waiting for Federal Partners to assist.
According to the Associated Press, it was a Beech C23 that crashed down in the woods near a campground. There is no word on any injuries.